HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS IN NEW ORLEANS
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North Carolina Office of Archives and History
HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS IN NEW ORLEANSAuthor(s): John S. KendallSource: The North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. 7, No. 4 (October, 1930), pp. 463-476Published by: North Carolina Office of Archives and HistoryStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23515093 .Accessed: 10/06/2014 12:35
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HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS IN NEW ORLEANS
By John S. Kendall
In spite of the ravages of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and
the carelessness and ignorance .of state and city officials since then, the primary material for a history of Louisiana is still to he found
in New Orleans in considerable quantity. Part of this exists in the
archives at the City Hall, part in the State Museum, housed in the
Cabildo, on Jackson Square; part in the custody of the Louisiana
State Historical Society, quartered on the top-floor of the same
edifice ; and the remainder in private collections not easily accessible
to the student. It is regrettable that Tulane University, the logical
agency for the collection of this matter, has been prevented by a lack
of funds from taking part in the work. No service more useful to
the community could be done than for some wealthy individual to
endow a department of Louisiana History at this institution, with the
express object of bringing together, in one easily accessible spot, in
original or in copy, the documents, etc., on which the inevitable re
writing of the history of the State must be based.
The most important group of manuscripts in New Orleans at
the present time is the collection of legal documents in the custody of the State Museum. These are the records of the French colonial
Superior Council and the Spanish colonial judicial records. They are housed in a building adjoining the Cabildo, generously presented to the Museum by the late W. R. Irby. Here, under the direction of
Henry P. Dart, archivist of the Louisiana Historical Society, a
calendar of these documents is being prepared, the French by Mrs.
H. H. Cruzat, and the Spanish by Miss Laura Porteus. This work
of cataloguing and indexing these papers has been in progress for
many years. It was begun in the early part of the present century, under the auspices of the Historical Society, and carried on until a
lack of funds interrupted it. In 1920 it was resumed with means
contributed by Mr. Irby, at which time Mr. Dart was put in charge. Under Mr. Dart's direction the scope of the work was extended, and
the Spanish records were brought under examination for the first
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464 The North Carolina Historical Review
Mr. Irby's gift was by its terms recognized to be insufficient. It
was, in fact, intended merely to give the work an impetus, in the
hope that in this way attention could be attracted to it, and further
assistance, either from other private benefactors or from the State, would provide for its completion. The Irby gift was exhausted in
1925. The State Museum thereupon came to the rescue, and it
seems now, under its auspices, this difficult and enormous labor will
not again be interrupted. The publication of the calendar of this collection of documents
was begun under the direction of Miss Grace King, in the Louisiana
Historical Quarterly in November, 1916, and then continued in
January, 1917, in accordance with the enlightened policy of its
then editor, the late John Dymond. It has been continued on a more
elaborate scale since the death of Mr. Dymond, in 1922, when he was
succeeded in the editorial control of this magazine by Mr. Dart.
The French calendar lias thus been printed down to and including
June, 1743. The remaining twenty-five years of the French colonial
era have also been indexed, though partially. This was done by Wil
liam Price, who had charge of the work prior to the date when Mrs.
Cruzat and Miss Porteus were enlisted therefor. At the time when
Mr. Price undertook the task, it was expected that only an index to
the subject matter would be necessary; but as the work proceeded, it
was seen that, in order to be of real value, its scope in each section
would have to be broadened, and it now includes a succinct statement
of the contents of each recorda statement necessarily succinct, or
the vast number of these papers would make the completion of the
undertaking something not to be looked for within the present
generation. The Spanish Index, or Calendar, has likewise been printed in the
Quarterly, beginning with the number for January, 1923. This
record, which now forms a feature of each issue of this magazine, has been carried as far as May, 1776. The remaining twenty-seven years of the Spanish period have still to be compiled.
It is not too much to say that the investigation of these records, as far as it has gone, has changed our ideas regarding the colonial
history of Louisiana, and made necessary the eventual retelling of
many chapters of the story. This is especially true of the Spanish time. The Spanish records begin with some scraps of material
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Histokical Collections in New Oeleans 465
relative to the legal investigation of the personal affairs of the
Intendent Foucault, initiated shortly after the arrival of Governor
O'Reilly, in 1769. There is, however, nothing regarding the prose cution of Lafrenire and his associates, accused of rebellion against the Spanish government; these men were tried before special tribu
nals, created for the purpose, and the original proces-verbals of the
proceedings are extant in France and Spain. The first document in the Louisiana State Museum collection,
in the Spanish section, is the original oath of allegiance of the
inhabitants of Pointe Coupee and Fausse Rivire (two old Louisiana
settlements), dated September 10, 1769. Then follow numbers of
notarial acts, found among the court records, some sewed together in paper covers and arranged in strict chronological order. These
documents were evidently overlooked when, years ago, the French
and Spanish notarial acts of the colonial period were bound and
turned over to the custodian of Notarial Records of the Parish of
Orleans, and archived by him at the new court building, in New
It is impossible in the narrow limits of the present article to
enumerate a tithe of the documents already available in the Spanish section of the Calendar, but we may instance a few, as showing in
a general way the nature of the material thus being made available.
There is, for example, a conventional special mortgage by authentic
act, dated February 27, 1787, based upon a security on real estate
created by a contract before a Notary Public. This is of value as
showing that, even at this early date, the essential forms of mortgage in Louisiana were the same as those of any similar instrument in
1930. We have also the complete documentation of the trial of Mary
Glass, for murder, in 1780, interesting because the crime was com
mitted in "English Pointe Coupee in the District of Baton Rouge," after the capture of Baton Rouge by Glvez, but while the English officers were still permitted to exercise their functions. The last
document in the set describes the execution of Mary Glass, who,
by the way, was a "free quadroon" from the "North of the Caro
linas." She was hanged in the public square in New Orleans July
26, 1781, before "a considerable concourse of people." Another interesting document is the record of a case involving the
use of torture in criminal proceedings in Louisiana in 1771. This
466 The North Carolina Historical Review
is from the files of the Governor's Court, and is entitled "The
Criminal Proceedings officially Brought to Find the Aggressor who
killed Juan Baptiste Cezaire Lebreton, on the night of May 31 just
passed, by the discharge of a gun." It established under the signa ture of the judge and the prosecuting officers that the rack was used
to extract a confession from two Negro slaves upon whom suspicion had fallen.
A considerable portion of the Spanish records, of course, deals
with matters of minor interestwills filed for probate, suits for
debts, etc. Some of these, however, in spite of the relatively unim
portant character of the subject, have interest and value as illustrating
points in Spanish legal procedure, often of significance for the proper
interpretation of questions in fields of historical inquiry quite other
than the legal. One of these, selected quite at random from the col
lection, but indicative of the nature of the material, is a suit for
debt brought in the Governor's Court in 1770, which establishes the
usage when the litigants did not happen to reside in the same place. In this case, the suit was begun in New Orleans, and then sent
to the Post of Opelousas, where the Post Commander heard the plead
ings of the defendant.
Among the numerous marriage contracts, those of Juan Benoit
and Elena Montanary, dated November 17, 1770 ; of Carlos Felipe Favre Daunoy and Maria Elizabetha Destrehan, dated March 15, 1773 ; and that of Francisco Daspit and Maria Barba Zeringue, dated March 12, 1779, are typical. They either reveal curious turns of legal phraseology, or relate to old Louisiana families represented today by numerous descendants. It is interesting to note that few of the Spanish judicial records were written upon stamped paper. Elsewhere in the Spanish colonies the paper used in legal work was taxed and a stamp was affixed to each sheet, but for some reason
Louisiana was exempt from this requirement, a fact which, perhaps, accounts for the great length and sometimes wearisome detail with which the documentation of practically every proceeding was set forth.
The documents which have come down to us from the French
Superior Council are, in number, probably greater than the Spanish collections, although of no deeper interest. They begin with the year 1717. Among the very earliest are papers relative to the punish
Histoeical Collections in New Orleans 467
ments visited upon offenders against the local regulations at Old
Biloxi, one culprit being "keel-hauled," apparently for having com
mitted a theft. Many of these papers shed light upon the treatment
of slaves during the French regime. A curious series of documents
has been found setting forth the complaint of the engineer Pauget,
against a certain Mme de Verteuil. Pauget ivas Bienville's chief
engineer and is credited with having laid out the city of New
Orleans. He and the lady seem to have had a difficulty, and she
scratched his face; whereupon he laid a charge against her before
The French records contain a number of interesting documents
regarding the massacre of 1729, including a list of the unfortunates
butchered by the Indians at Natchez. In this connection it is odd
to note that subsequent documents include the marriage contracts
of all the widows created by this sanguinary event, every one of
whom found new husbands within the year. We find in the collec
tion also an example of a very early will, that of a man named
Le Juif, drawn up by a priest in the absence of a notary. This
instrument was admitted to probate in due course. Kegarding the
Chevalier d'Arensbourg, a picturesque personality of great import ance in the early part of the French period, we have a large number
of papers dealing with practically every phase of his career in Louisi
ana; and, among other interesting items, establishing the fact that
he was a Protestant, not a Catholic, as has been erroneously
conjectured. Interest also attaches to the elaborate record of the first suit ever
brought in Louisiana for separation of bed and hoard. The defendant
was a physician, the Chevalier Manade, probably the first medical
practitioner in the colony. Mme Manade wanted her husband to
return her dowry, but he refused, on the ground that to do so would
encourage "immorality," and offer a precedent for other wives who
had wearied of the holy estate of matrimony. It seems that the lady
eventually repented of having made so much trouble, returned to
the Chevalier, and lived more or less happily with him ever after.
Other matters regarding which the French records contain much
material are the case of the French soldiers who deserted with the
intention (apparently not realized) of joining the British in North
Carolina, in 1725-28; the difficulties which arose between the Capu
468 The North Carolina Historical Review
chins and their parishioners, and, later on, between them and the
Jesuits, about 1726; the personal affairs of Father Baudoin, superior of the Jesuits in 1766; and the suit brought by Lafrenire against the Jesuits in 1763. The argument of Lafrenire in this case, which
affected the vast property owned by the order in what is now the
upper part of New Orleans, has been preserved and forms intensely
interesting reading. We may also cite briefly the record in a case in admiralty, affecting
the two-master "Snow," tried in 1741, before Salmon, Commissary of the Marine and First Judge of the Superior Council, interesting because it mentions the "itratif commandment," equivalent to the
modern writ of fieri facias, although in those days there were ap
parently no formal citations or writs. An edict dated 1721 has
been found for the appointment of dual tutors for minors. The ap plication of Jean Franois Pasquier to the Superior Council for
registration of his commission as counsel or assessor in that body, dated March 22, 1737, shows that this office had been created by the local officials, before any formal authority had been granted by the home government. The records of a judicial auction in 1739
and the petition of one Thierry for a building site in New Orleans in 1722, valuable as shedding light upon the methods adopted by the
company of the Indies to induce settlers to go to Louisiana, are two other matters regarding which fairly complete documentation has been rescued from the French colonial archives and put in shape for the student. Whereas the Spanish records were, for the most
part, collated and bound long ago, the French manuscripts, with a few exceptions, exist in loose sheets and the task of assorting them into proper order has been a serious one. All of these documents, Spanish as well as French, have been badly treated, in some cases eaten by worms and mice. It has taken severe physical labor as well as expert language-knowledge to prepare the resumes which are now
being published. In 1915 the municipal authorities of New Orleans transferred from
the City Hall to the State Museum twenty bound volumes of original manuscript material dealing with the history of the city government. These volumes are now being card-indexed. They contain several hundred documents, some of great interest and several of the highest value. Among them we may specify :
Historical Collections in New Orleans 469
American Document Book: containing letters of Governor "W. C. C. Claiborne 1804-1815, including a number relating to the lands owned
by the Marquis de Lafayette in the vicinity of New Orleans; also re
garding the schools, early attempts to introduce water and drainage, etc.
Collection of Dispatches of Governor Mir, 1787-1789: ahout 50 documents in all.
Volume numbered 4076, containing a long series of documents on the "batture" casethat is, the city's title to the riparian deposits in front of the present business section of New Orleansespecially with refer
ence to the claims of Jean Gravier.
Volume numbered 4074, comprising the papers referring to the suc
cession of Gilbert Antoine de St Maxent, all interesting because the
property involved is now within the limits of the city. Volume numbered 4086, containing documents relative to the acquisi
tion by the city of the so-called "Faubourg" Trm, now an important
section of the business district of New Orleans. Volume numbered 4088, made up in part of accounts connected with
the erection of the gallows and the expenses of executing criminals in
New Orleans in colonial times.
Volume numbered 9374, dealing exclusively with the Battle of New
Orleans, 196 documents in all; including letters from Claiborne, Jack
son, and others of importance in 1815. Much is found here regarding
the Negro slaves whose labor was required for military purposes. One
letter refers to Captain Juzon, who commanded a company of Choctaw
Indians during the campaign. Other papers relate to the trial by court
martial of Major Viller in February, 1815, for "knowingly harboring the enemy" ; and of Louaillier, Jr. Jackson's proclamation dated March
13, 1815, announcing "with the most lively emotions of joy" the fact of the peace between the United States and Great Britain, is included
in this volume.
Other volumes contain records of law suits going back as far as the
year 1794; accounts of city officials like Delaronde, Carondelet, etc., whose names are important in Louisiana history; accounts and plans
connected with the building of the Cabildo, or former city hall; letters
and documents connected with O'Reilly, Glvez, Unzaga, and other
Spanish officials, 1770-1792.
The Museum is in possession of other manuscript material which
is now being examined and indexed. Among the matter already
found and made accessible to students are a long series of letters of
Daniel Clark, who figured in a notorious controversy with General
James Wilkinson, at the beginning of the nineteenth century; many
letters from General D. B. Morgan, Andrew Jackson, Major Tatumn,
and General J. H. Gordon relative to the Battle of New Orleans in
470 The North Carolina Historical Review
1815 ; and six or seven letters addressed by Nathaniel Cox in 1801
1809 to G. L. Lewis, nephew of George Washington. Lewis was
then a resident of Louisiana. A manuscript diary of Captain Blanch
ard during the Mexican War, covering 75 pages of excessively minute
chirography, is now being transcribed. The museum also has four
or five of the dispatch-hooks of General "Dick" Taylor, the Confed
erate chieftain, which shed light upon the military operations in
Louisiana and Mississippi during the Civil War. Taylor's dispatches include many addressed to N. B. Forrest, and to Maury, the geog
rapher, and their replies. A complete card catalogue of this im
portant material has already been made.
The museum possesses a collection of Louisiana newspapers, in
which will be found:
The Propagateur Catolique, 1870-1882. The Country Visitor, 1879-1881 (scattered copies only). The Catholic Standard, 1860 (scattered copies). The Morning Star and Catholic Messenger, 1871-1881 (scattered
These files are valuable for the detail which they supply regarding the history of the Catholic church in Louisiana in the middle and later years of the last century.
But the Cahildo also contains a far greater treasure of New Or
leans and Louisiana newspapers, kept on the top floor, and forming
part of the library of the Louisiana State Museum and of the Louis
iana Historical Society. The latter, as has been said already, is quart ered in the same building as the State Museum. Most of these papers are the property, neither of the Society nor of the Museum, but
merely placed in their custody by the publishers ; however, it is not
likely that they will be removed from their present resting-place. The Society is the owner of a complete file of the New Orleans
"Abeille," the most important French newspaper ever published in
New Orleans. It extends from the foundation of the paper in Sep
tember, 1827, to March 25, 1917, when the paper ceased publication. This invaluable file was left to the Society by the late Colonel H. J.
De La Vergne. Recently, the Museum has acquired by purchase from Gaspar Cusachs the latter's unique file of the Louisiana Courier,
Historical Collections in New Orleans 471
extending from October 14, 1807 (Yol. I, No. 1), to October 14,
1842, but unfortunately not including the volume for October 1814
October 1815, or tbat for the year 1836.
The list of these files follows :
Moniteur, August 14, 1802-Nov. 26, 1803 (Nos. 304-371) ; Jan. 3, 1811-1812 (Nos. 1101-1412).
Louisiana Gazette, April 4-13, 1813. L'Ami des Lois, Apr. 6-Nov. 25, 1820 (Nos. 2488-2635) ; July-Dec.
1821 (Nos. 2813-2960). National Intelligencer, July, 1822-May 24, 1824.
Union, September 21-Dec. 31, 1837. New Orleans Picayune, Apr. 25, 1837 (Yol. I, No. 77), to March,
Weekly Picayune, March, 1828 (Yol. II, No. 2)-February, 1843; March-October, 1850.
True American, 1838.
Tropic, October, 1843-August 25, 1846.
Delta, Oct. 12, 1845-Apr. 1857; June 1858-Oct. 9, 1859; Jan. 12-Oct.
y, I860; Nov.-May, 1861; May, 1862.
Weekly Delta, Oct. 20, 1845-Oct. 1848. Price Current, Sept. 13, 1845-Aug. 1847; Sept. 1855-Aug. 1856.
National, Sept. 10, 1847-Dec. 1848.
Crescent, March, 1848-March, 1851; Sept. 1852.
Vigilant, Nov. 6, 1847-Oct. 4, 1848. True Delta, Nov. 18, 1860-May 17, 1861.
Times, Sept. 20, 1863-Dec. 1868; Mar. 20, 1869-Sept. 1874; Sept. 1875-June, 1881.
Weekly Times, Nov. 14, 1863-Dec. 1880.
Era, Aug. 15-Dec. 1863.
Tribune, Nov. 1, 1865 (Yol. I, No. 51)-March 20, 1866.
Republican, Apr. 10, 1867-Feb. 1869; Sept. 1869-Apr. 1871; Nov.
Star, Mar. 14, 1866-Mar 13, 1867.
Herald, May-Dec. 1873.
Bulletin, May-Sept. 1874.
Democrat, Dec. 19, 1875-Dec. 3, 1881.
Evening Democrat, Feb. 17, 1877-Jan. 20, 1878.
Times Democrat, Dec. 4, 1881-Feb. 1914.
Item, June 11-Dec. 10, 1883.
New Delta, Sept. 6, 1890-Dec. 1891.
States, June, 1911 to date.
American, Dec. 1915-Feb. 1917.
472 The North Carolina Historical Review
Times Picayune, March, 1914, to date.
Capitolian Advocate (Baton Rouge), Jan. 19, 1882-July, 1888. Baton Rouge Advocate, Aug. 1888-Aug. 1894; April, 1898-March,
The Louisiana Historical Society, which has been continuously in
existence since 1836, has a small but good collection of transcripts made for its use in France many years ago. These volumes have
been handsomely bound, and a few of them have been indexed briefly, but the need for a more complete guide to their contents is obvious.
Among them one of the most important contains the texts of various
concessions made by the company of the Indies from 1719 to 1731
to induce settlement and colonization in Louisiana. This volume
has been made the basis of a series of articles published in the
Louisiana Historical Quarterly in 1927 and 1928 by Mr. Dart and
Mrs. Cruzat, dealing with the lands owned by Bienville in Louisiana.
These articles open up for the first time the details of French colonial
policy with regard to the distribution of lands in the colony at its
very inception. This has long been an obscure page in the history of the State, and its elucidation is of particular interest because the
lands in question were situated in and around New Orleans and
contiguous territory as high up as Natchez.
In this series will be found four large volumes containing manu
scrips relating to the Mississippi Valley during the Spanish regime,
1766-1808; one volume relating to the French regime in this region,
1679-1769; copies of the papers relating to the trial of Lafrenire,
1769-1770; two volumes of correspondence covering the years 1678
1706, transcribed from the originals in the Ministry of Marine in
Paris, beginning with the permit granted to LaSalle for his first
voyage to Louisiana ; two volumes copied from the same bureau of
the French government, containing the correspondence of and with
Aubry; one volume entitled "Etat Civil, 1720-1734," also from the
Ministry of Marine; one volume entitled "Recensements, 1706
1741" ; one volume containing inventories, plans and mmoires rel
ative to Louisiana, copied from originals preserved in the Depot de
Fortificacions des Colonies, Paris, and extending from 1704 to 1733 ; one volume entitled "Reseignements sur Oeuvres que Etaient Passes
a la Louisiane," 1725-1729; and, most important of all, a volume
Historical Collections in Hew Orleans 473
containing the passenger lists of persons coming to Louisiana during the regime of the company of the Indies. This manuscript shows that
the original population of Louisiana was predominantly drawn from
the artisan class. There is also one entire volume of extracts from
documents, the originals of which are extant in France, regarding the transfer of Louisiana to the United States in 1803 ; three volumes
of transcripts made by Margry in 1847 of documents in the French
archives of interest to Louisiana; and a volume containing a MS.
transcript of Pre LeClerc's "Establissement de la Fe dans La
Louisiane et Canada." While all this material is merely copies, it is
of transcendent value for the student of Louisiana history, and serves
as well as the originals. We are fortunate to have it accessible on
this side of the Atlantic. Moreover, the Historical Society possesses a manuscript believed to be the original of LaHarpe's journal for
An extensive library of secondary material is being formed under
the auspices of the Historical Society and of the Museum. It is
lodged with their other collections on the top floor of the Cabildo.
It contains a good many rare volumes, and is growing at a rapid rate.
Primary material for the history of the State is also found in the
Howard Memorial Library. Unfortunately, William Beer, the learned
librarian, whose labors, extending over more than a quarter of a cen
tury, resulted in bringing together at this institution a vast store of
books and manuscripts, died in 1927. His place has been lately filled by Robert J. Usher. Mr. Usher found, shortly after taking up his duties, that the basements of the library were filled with a col
lection of miscellaneous literature for which there was no room on
the library shelves, and which had been accumulated there by Mr.
Beer during the years of his incumbency. This collection is estimated
at 150,000 volumes. The task of examining this enormous mass of
matter is now in progress, but will take many months to complete; and until then it is impossible to say just what historical material
the Howard Library really contains. Moreover, the material on the
shelves of the library has not been segregated in a manner to make
possible for a newcomer like Mr. Usher to point out at the present moment just what Louisiana historical documents are in his juris diction. However, since taking over the library, Mr. Usher has ac
474 The North Carolina Historical Review
quired some important collections, notably a set of 900 letters by John McDonogh, the miser-millionaire who established the New
Orleans public schools. The maps in the Howard library are famous.
Mr. Usher is now having them examined and listed. They number
thousands and include many precious examples of early cartography connected with the exploration of the Mississippi Valley.
The Howard Library has the good fortune to possess the only known copy of The Moniteur for 1804. The Moniteur was the first
Louisiana newspaper, and copies of it of any date are excessively rare.
An almost complete collection of the acts passed by the Louisiana
State Legislation since territorial times is also a valuable asset of
the library. Particular attention has always been given at the Howard
to the preservation of the reports of local charitable, social, and politi cal institutions. For example, one finds here a file of the reports of
the celebrated New Orleans Charity Hospital going back to 1840, of the greatest value to students of the state medical history. The
library has also the most complete file in existence of the journals of the Louisiana State Senate and House of Representatives. It
begins in 1812 and extends to the present date.
The Howard Library has a collection of local newspapers which
supplements those in the Cabildo and at the City Hall. Taking these
three collections together, there are in New Orleans practically un
broken files of the leading periodicals published in the city from the
beginning of the nineteenth century. Moreover, the Howard is the
possessor of a perfect set of DeBow's Review, one of the few known
to be complete from 1846 to 1880, including the excessively rare
volume of July, 1864, of which but a few copies were ever issued, and which seems to have been circulated in New Orleans only. A
volume of a very rare weekly, valuable for its references to the New
Orleans theater and opera, is Le Passetemps, published in the city in
1827-1829. Another very rare local weekly, La Lorgnette, covers the
year 1843 and is important for the same reason.
An especially good file of the New Orleans Price Current, in
dispensable to all students of the economic aspects of Louisiana his
tory, will be found in the Howard Library. It is nearly complete for
the important years 1826-1864. The Howard's file of the Picayune extends from 1852 to 1914, with only a few gaps during the Civil
Historical Collections in New Orleans 475
To students of Louisiana history the fact is of great importance that in the Howard Library will be found a copy prepared by the
Carnegie Institution of the typewritten list of documents in the
Biblitheque Nationale, Paris, relative to the Mississippi Valley. A
photographic reproduction of the series of dispatches of the governor of Louisiana to the captain general of Cuba between 1768 and 1791, is of like importance. The latter item is particularly interesting because it coincides with the manuscript index to the correspondence of the captain general of Cuba with the governor of Louisiana be
tween the years 1766 and 1780, which is one of the valued possessions of the Louisiana Historical Society.
The material available in the archives of the city of New Orleans, in the City Hall, is too considerable to be dismissed with a passing reference here. An entire article should be devoted to an analysis of the abundant store of documents, newspapers, etc., which is
gathered on the top floor of the City Hall. One may, however,
point out that here will be found the minute books of the Cabildo
(Spanish government), from its inception under O'Reilly down to
the early years of the nineteenth century, a series of ten large manu
script volumes, written in a microscopic hand, but exceedingly legible. This record contains in detail the history of the government of the
colony of Louisiana over a period of thirty or thirty-one eventful
years. It ought to be transcribed and translated and, if possible,
printed. Supplementing it, is the enormous mass of "proceedings" of the New Orleans city counciltoo vast to be reprinted, in its
entirety, but full of invaluable data over the period from 1803
to the present moment. The material in the City Hall is not indexed, and is exposed to constant fire-risk ; moreover, it has been very hardly used in times gone by, and the need for rebinding is in many instances
Finally, one should perhaps mention the private collections in New
Orleans where historical material of value is preserved. That of
E. A. Parsons contains the originals of the correspondence between
the pirate, Lafitte, and Andrew Jackson, and with the ofiicers of
the British army, in 1814-1815. These letters have never been
printed. Mr. Parsons also owns the originals of the correspondence between Mayor Monroe and General Benjamin F. Butler regarding
the latter's notorious "woman order." Edward Laroque Tinker, of
476 The North Carolina Historical Review
New Orleans and New York, has collected every available item
relative to the French literature of Louisiana, hut this collection is
housed only in part in New Orleans. Mr. Tinker is preparing a
bibliography of this subject, which, when issued, will be a valuable
guide to a little known department of Louisiana literary history. Charles F. Thompson, also, has collected extensively, and possesses a great variety of valuable Louisiana material, including, for ex
ample, some 3,000 letters of John McDonogh. The opportunity to coordinate and supplement these various col
lections is obviously alluring. Unfortunately, to do so would entail
large labor and expense, and there does not seem at the present time
in New Orleans any institution or individual in a position to under
take it. But a scholar may permit himself to dream of a time when
all these scattered documents will he listed in one catalogue, and
neatly typewritten copies will be immediately available for his ex
amination, and when there will be at hand transcripts, at least of the
theses compiled at the larger American institutions of learning on
Louisiana subjects. The present essay can close in no way more
fittingly than by reiterating the value of a work of this sort, and
stressing the merit which would attach to any act that would make its realization possible.
Article Contentsp. 463p. 464p. 465p. 466p. 467p. 468p. 469p. 470p. 471p. 472p. 473p. 474p. 475p. 476
Issue Table of ContentsThe North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. 7, No. 4 (October, 1930), pp. 433-566THE SEACOAST IN NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY, 1763-1789 [pp. 433-442]ACTIVITIES OF THE NORTH CAROLINA FARMERS' UNION [pp. 443-462]HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS IN NEW ORLEANS [pp. 463-476]CORRESPONDENCE OF JOHN C. CALHOUN, GEORGE McDUFFIE AND CHARLES FISHER, RELATING TO THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1824 [pp. 477-504]HISTORICAL NOTESDISCUSSION OF PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION [pp. 505-515]SAMUEL KRAMSH TO ABRAHAM STEINER [pp. 515-516]ALEXANDER MARTIN TO FREDERICK WILLIAM MARSHALL [pp. 516-517]
BOOK REVIEWSReview: untitled [pp. 518-520]Review: untitled [pp. 520-522]Review: untitled [pp. 522-523]Review: untitled [pp. 524-527]BOOKS RECEIVED [pp. 528-528]
HISTORICAL NEWS [pp. 529-532]Back Matter