Louisiana Bicentennial

Louisiana State Capitol Bicentennial Exhibit

Loyola University Honors Program


Contact:  Professor Naomi Yavneh Klos,
Director, University Honors Program
Tel:  504 865-3442
Cell: 813 728-3868


A Louisiana founding collection of rare manuscripts, letters, documents, books, broadsides, and newspapers from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries has been prepared for public exhibit by students from the Loyola University New Orleans Honors Program.   The exhibit, which is part of the Louisiana Bicentennial celebration, is now on display in the State Capitol’s Memorial Hall in Baton Rouge.  Documents ranging from a 1698 Louis comte de Pontchartrain manuscript to a 1860 New Orleans True Delta newspaper proclaiming South Carolina’s secession from the union covers Louisiana’s founding colorful history.  Highlights include an official 1803 US government printings of the Louisiana Purchase, Governor William Claiborne’s Address to the Citizens of Louisiana on December 20, 1803, War of 1812 Declaration of War, 1815 Treaty of Ghent and the 1821 Adams-Onis treaty along with letters and documents signed by the Duke of Orleans, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Robert R. Livingston, and John Quincy Adams.   Also included are accounts of the Battle of New Orleans and an actual Congressional gold medal commemorating the actions of General Jackson and his army.   

Professor Yavneh Klos and her colleague, Loyola librarian Teri Oates Gallaway, worked with Honors students to organize and analyse the exhibit as part of a research seminar on the University’s centennial. The documents are on loan to the people of Louisiana by Stanley and Naomi Yavneh Klos.

The free exhibit, which will be on display from April 29th - May 6th, 2012 is located in Memorial Hall of the Louisiana State Capitol.  The Capitol, a National Historic Landmark, is located at N. 3rd St. on State Capitol Drive in Baton Rouge, and is open daily from 8 am until 4:30 pm. 

Loyola University New Orleans, a Jesuit institution, is grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, while also offering opportunities for professional studies in undergraduate and selected graduate programs.  The University Honors Program (UHP) is a highly selective academic and co-curricular program designed to challenge exceptionally motivated students of superior academic ability and achievement.

Louisiana Bicentennial

Founding Exhibit

Hosted By:
Louisiana State Capitol
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana  Bicentennial Exhibit on display at the State Capitol's Memorial Hall from April 29th - May 6th, 2012

Curated by
Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D. 
Director of the Loyola University
Honors Program


Garrett Fontenot ’12  -  Kevin Quern ’15
Samuel Kuslan ’15 -   Mara Steven ’15  Alexander Thomas ’12

6363 St. Charles Avenue
Honors Box 75
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 864-7331


Thinking critically, acting justly ….

The University Honors Program is a highly selective academic and co-curricular program designed to challenge exceptionally motivated students of superior academic ability and achievement.  Encompassing about 5% of each class and open to undergraduates enrolled in any major, the UHP intends to develop in students a respect for truth, the critical intelligence to seek it, and the skills to express their learning; we are proud to attract and retain a diverse, national pool of high-achieving students with a commitment to excellence in academics, service and leadership. 

The Honors Centennial Project - 1912 saw the founding of Loyola University New Orleans, the Girl Scouts of America, Paramount Studios and LL Bean (among others), the maiden voyage and sinking of the Titanic, and the Louisiana State Centennial.  Using primary and secondary source materials to create virtual and physical exhibits regarding these centennials, as well as the Louisiana Bicentennial, this seminar provided hands-on experience and training in humanities research methods useful for course work, potential collaborative scholarship opportunities, and graduate and professional school.

Louisiana Bicentennial Exhibit 

Phélypeaux, Louis comte de Pontchartrain - 1698 receipt for the Lord of the Morandière signed by Phélypeaux Comte de Pontchartrain as the Crown’s Controller-General of Finances. Pontchartrain , in 1699 became Louis XIV’s Chancellor of France and his name is given to the lake of Pontchartrain, New-Orléans during the French colonization of Louisiana.

Royal Orléans House – Duke d'Orleans manuscript signed recording the payment of “portion of pension" for the benefit of Sieur HennequinThe 1752 manuscript also has the signature of Etienne de Silhouette who was a French Controller-General of Finances under Louis XV.  New Orleans is named after the Royal House of Orléans in honor of Philip II, Duke of Orléans, Regent of France, 1715 to 1723. 

The Peace of Paris and the Treaty of 1763, was signed on February 10th, 1763 by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement, after Britain's victory over France and Spain during the Seven Years' War whose theater in North America was known as the French and Indian War. One year before this treaty, France ceded her Louisiana Territory to Spain in the Treaty of Fontainebleau but was this not publicly announced until 1764.

Exhibited is a March 1763 printing of one of the more significant documents of the 18th century, being "The Definitive Treaty of Friendship of Peace between his Britannick Majesty, the Most Christian King, and the King of Spain, Concluded at Paris, the 10th day of Feb., 1763...". Resulting from it, France gave up Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, the St. Lawrence River islands & Canada to the British. France gives to England all her territory east of the Mississippi River except New Orleans. France gets back their Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique & St. Lucia. Spain is given back Cuba in return for territory in East & West Florida. Specifically Article VII states:
 French territories on the continent of America; it is agreed, that, for the future, the confines between the dominions of his Britannick Majesty and those of his Most Christian Majesty, in that part of the world, shall be fixed irrevocably by a line drawn along the middle of the River Mississippi, from its source to the river Iberville, and from thence, by a line drawn along the middle of this river, and the lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain to the sea; and for this purpose, the Most Christian King cedes in full right, and guaranties to his Britannick Majesty the river and port of the Mobile, and everything which he possesses, or ought to possess, on the left side of the river Mississippi, except the town of New Orleans and the island in which it is situated, which shall remain to France, provided that the navigation of the river Mississippi shall be equally free, as well to the subjects of Great Britain as to those of France, in its whole breadth and length, from its source to the sea, and expressly that part which is between the said island of New Orleans and the right bank of that river, as well as the passage both in and out of its mouth: It is farther stipulated, that the vessels belonging to the subjects of either nation shall not be stopped, visited, or subjected to the payment of any duty whatsoever. The stipulations inserted in the IVth article, in favour of the inhabitants of Canada shall also take place with regard to the inhabitants of the countries ceded by this article.

This lengthy document takes about five pages of the  The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle, March 1763, Sylvanus Urbanus, printed in London: D. Henry. 
-- Klos Yavneh Academy Collection

This 1763 Treaty of Paris transferred the east side of the Mississippi, including Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which was at that time part of the British territory of West Florida. New Orleans on the east side remained in French hands. The newly acquired of Florida and Louisiana territory was too large to govern from one administrative center so the British divided it into two new American colonies separated by the Apalachicola River. British West Florida's government was based in Pensacola, and the colony included the part of formerly Spanish Florida west of the Apalachicola, plus the parts of French Louisiana taken by the British. It thus comprised all territory between the Mississippi and Apalachicola Rivers, with a northern boundary that shifted several times over the subsequent years.

Exhibited here is a 1763 Account of British Florida and Louisiana - with color map.  The Florida Parishes (Spanish: Parroquias de Florida, French: Paroisses de Floride), also known as the North Shore region, are eight parishes in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Louisiana, which were part of West Florida in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Unlike much of Louisiana, this region was not part of the Louisiana Purchase, as it had been under British and then Spanish control. The parishes are East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, and West Feliciana. The United States annexed most of West Florida in 1810. It quickly incorporated the area that became the Florida Parishes into the Territory of Orleans, which became the U.S. state of Louisiana in 1812.  There are three pages taken up with "Some Account of the Government of East and West Florida..." with great detail.  In part: 

The forests abound with wild beasts, the plains with birds of various kinds, and the rivers with fowl and first; and in short, by best accounts that are not yet extant, there appears to be no want of necessaries and conveniences of life; nor is the climate so intolerably hot as to affect the health of those who may think fit to settle there.  Cochineal and indigo are among the natural productions of this country; and ambergrife is found in abundance on the southernmost coasts.  
The native Indians of Florida are perhaps the handsomest people in America; their complexion is rather inclining to olive than copper; their eyes are black and piercing, their bodies robust and their limbs finely turn'd. Their women swim the rivers, climb trees, and are in general so remarkably swift, that racing among them is a favorite diversion.  Before the Spaniards possessed themselves of Florida, the natives had a kind of a civil government, the traces of which they preserve to this day.  They were divided into petty states, who generally warred with each other, and who still continue the same practice.

The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle, November 1763
, Sylvanus Urbanus, printed in London: D. Henry. -- Stanley and Naomi Yavneh Klos Collection
King George III, Monarch of the British North American Colonies including East and West Florida - Exhibited here is an Autograph letter signed discussing the design of the Theological Pivre Medal, the health of Elizabeth (his daughter), and his friend’s horseback riding: 
My Good Lord, Yesterday I received from Burch his design for the Reverse of the Theological Pivre Medal, think, I now communicate to you this only Alterations I have proposed is that the Anfs shall not appear so well finished but of ruder workmanship and the name of the University as well as the year placed at bottom as on the other Medal.We have had some alarm from a spasmatick attack on the breast of Elizabeth which occasioned some inflammation but by the skill of Sir George Baker She is now just fully recovered and in a few days will resume riding on horseback which has certainly this Summer agreed with her. 
I am sure to find by a letter Mr. Delany has had from Mr. Montagu that you are preparing to do the same as I am certain it will contribute to Your Health, which I flatter myself is improved by your proposing to attempt it this Season.  Believe me even   My Good Lord, Your Most Affectionately, George R  Windsor Sept 2, 1786. 

George III was born in 1738, son of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Augusta. He married Charlotte of Mecklinburg-Strelitz in 1761 and produced fifteen children.  George was diagnosed with porphyria, a mental disease which disrupted his reign as early as 1765.

George III succeeded his grandfather, George II, in 1760; his father Frederick, Prince of Wales, had died in 1751 having never ruled.  In the 1763, the Treaty of Paris ended the War for Empire. George III held his colonial holdings and gained Canada, the Northwest Territory, East and West Florida in North America.   George's plan of taxing the American colonies to pay for military protection for Britain led to the Revolutionary War in 1775. The colonists proclaimed independence in 1776, but George III continued the war until the American victory at Yorktown in 1781. The Treaty of Paris, signed in 1783, ensured acknowledgment of the United States of America as an independent nation and ceded Britain’s Northwest Territory to the new nation.  In his 1783 Treaty with Spain, George III ceded East and West Florida back to the Spanish Empire. George’s political power decreased when William Pitt the Younger became Prime Minister in 1783. George reclaimed some of his power, driving Pitt from office from 1801-04, but his condition worsened again and he ceased to rule in 1811.  Personal rule was given to his son George, the Prince Regent. George III died blind, deaf and mentally ill at Windsor Castle in 1820.   www.kinggeorgeiii.com
  - Klos Yavneh Academy Collection

Marriage Declaration of King George III dated July 8, 1761 that:
I have, ever since my accession to the throne, turned my thoughts towards the choice of a princess for my consort …I come to a resolution to demand in marriage the princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz; a princess distinguished by every eminent virtue.  
The London Magazine or Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, July 1761, R. Baldwin, London - Klos Yavneh Academy Collection

Queen Charlotte Sophia Monarch of the British North American Colonies including East and West Florida - Exhibited here is a Revolutionary War dated autograph letter signed by Queen Charlotte to her brother written in French on the 19th of February 1779 translated in full:
Sir my brother. It is with great pleasure that I congratulate Your Majesty on the Birth of the Princess, that Riene your very lovely wife comes by the assistance of Divine Providence to put the World, and I share with Your Majesty the joy that this event causes you begging the Quite Powerful that it of a agene from days to days to fill the royal house with all kinds of Benedictions. With my perfect sincerities. Your good sister, Charlotte. At St. James, 19th February 1779.  

Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, the wife of George III. She married George shortly after his accession to the throne, in 1761. When George III first received his young bride on September 9, 1761, at the garden gate of St James's Palace, he was supposedly taken aback by her lack of beauty. It became evident, though, that the pious and modest Strelitz princess soon conquered his heart and willingly submitted to his strong influence over her. In the first twenty-one years of her marriage Queen Charlotte gave birth to fifteen children, nine sons and six daughters. Their eldest son was the future George IV, born in 1762. In contrast to most European Royal houses George III and Charlotte had a harmonious marriage. Charlotte played a prominent, though reticent, role on the stage of European world history. As Queen of England and consort of George III she became an eyewitness of a turbulent age. -- Klos Yavneh Academy Collection

Despite overtures by the Continental Congress, both the West and East Florida British Colonies remained loyal to King George during the American Revolution, and served as havens for Tories fleeing from the emerging United States. 

In the Seven Years War (1756-1763), Spain had sustained serious losses against the British. The British had attacked and occupied two of Spain's key trading ports: Havana, in Cuba and Manila, in the Philippines in 1762. In the peace settlement of 1763 Spain recovered Havana by ceding Florida, including St. Augustine, which the Spanish had founded in 1565. The American Revolutionary War in 1776 provided Spain with the opportunity to reclaim the Florida in North America. 

In 1776, New Orleans Governor, Luis de Unzaga, the New Orleans Territorial Governor Unzaga, concerned about overtly antagonizing the British before the Spanish were prepared for war, agreed to assist the Continental Army covertly. Financier Oliver Pollock brokered shipment of desperately needed gunpowder through New Orleans with Unzaga approval.

In March 1777, the Spanish court secretly granted the United States most favored nation status to the previously restricted port of Havana. Benjamin Franklin noted in his 1777 report that three thousand barrels of gunpowder were waiting in New Orleans, and that the merchants in Bilbao "had orders to ship for us such necessaries as we might want." By 1778 the British papers were reporting the tenuous position of the West Florida settlements and Spain harboring Continental Rebels, "Their headquarters is in New Orleans, from whence they send out their parties to pillage the English lands. No inhabitants remain on the plantations from the Natches downwards," in their London papers.

The London Chronicle, England, June 25, 1778 printing of British Captain Ayres’ March 1778 letter concerning the British West Florida Mississippi lands that includes eight current Louisiana Parishes.  The letter reports in full: 
"A very unhappy event has lately happened in this country which will prove utterly destructive to the English settlements on the Mississippi...The defenceless state in which this country was left being without a soldier, or place of force,induced the rebels to send from Fort du Quesne a part in an armed batteau under the command of Captain Willing, seemingly with the intention of pillaging the plantations, and obliging the inhabitants to take oaths of neutrality; this party originally consisted of only twenty-five men, but by promises to the hunters and rovers on the bateaux, in the upper parts of the river, their number in French and English amounted to about 150 men on their arrival at the settlement of the Natches, there they contented themselves in imposing oaths of neutrality, and dispatched a canoe to seize the ship Rebecca, Captain Cox, at Manchac, and which they surprised in a fog; the arrival of this canoe gave time to the planters to transport their Negroes and movable effects to Spanish lands, before the rest of the rebels got down; on their arrival they seized on the Negroes of such natives of Britain as has neglected to send them off, they burned the houses on some plantations, and committed acts of cruelty and treachery that would dishonor the most savage nations.  To some they offered security, on the condition of their returning to their habitations, and confirmed that security by written permission, exacting at the same time an oath of neutrality; those who were deluded fell victim to their rapacity; for in violation of the faith pledged to them, and on every principle of honour and humanity, their property was seized, brought to New Orleans and sold at Vendue.  Their headquarters is in New Orleans, from whence they send out their parties to pillage the English lands.  No inhabitants remain on the plantations from the Natches downwards. To complete their barbarity, there only remains the destruction of the cattle and houses, and it is said a party is dispatched on that errand.  Humanity shudders at the horrible cruelty of these wretches.  Fifty to which the inhabitants might have repaired, would have preserved this valuable colony to Britain; even now 200 would suffice to restore it, and extirpate the vermin that invest it.  Our loss is not considerable, being only the lands, and the improvements we have made.  It is to be hoped government will not utterly neglect us.  In proportion to the number of inhabitants, there is no where a more loyal people: no man of any property or character has joined the rebels.” 
Less than a year later, the Treaty of Aranjuez, between France and Spain, was signed on April 12, 1779. France agreed to aid in the capture of Gibraltar, the Floridas, and the island of Minorca. In return, the Spanish agreed to join in France’s war against Great Britain. 

The exhibit includes this King George III Act: His Majesty's most gracious Message to the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament Assembled, on Thursday, the Seventeenth Day of June, 1779, and their Lordships Address thereupon, to His Majesty. London: Printed by Charles Eyre & William Strahan which formally withdraws his ambassadors four days before Spain declares War on Great Britain.

On June 21st, 1779, after they had finalized their preparations for war, Spain declared war against Great Britain according to the Treaty of Aranjuez's terms. 

In the Gulf Region, Bernardo de Gálvez, the energetic governor of Spanish Louisiana, immediately began offensive operations to gain control of British West Florida. In September 1779 he gained complete control over the lower Mississippi River by capturing Fort Bute and then shortly thereafter obtaining the surrender of the remaining forces following the Battle of Baton Rouge. He followed up these successes with the capture of Mobile on March 14, 1780, following a brief siege. He then began planning an assault on West Florida's capital, Pensacola, using the recently-captured Mobile as the launching point for the attack. 

Major General Campbell's account of the surrender of West Florida to the Spaniards: “...the whole force of the province of Louisiana being previously collected, the independency of America was publickly recognized by beat of drum at New Orleans on the 19th...the governor, Don Beraud de Galvez, immediately marched against our forces on the Mississippi & effectually succeeded by the capture, by stratagem, of a king's sloop in Lake Pontchartrain by the seize of a schooner in the River Mississippi...”  The Gentleman's Magazine, London, April, 1780

At the Battle of Pensacola (March 9th – May 8th, 1781), Governor Gálvez's Army won a decisive victory against the British the Spanish control of all of West Florida closing off any possibility of a British offensive into the western frontier of United States utilizing the Mississippi River. 

The Spanish also assisted the United States effort in the crucial Siege of Yorktown in 1781. A year earlier the US Dollar, whose note's face boasted an exchange rate of one paper dollar for one Spanish Silver Dollar, collapsed. The Continental Congress, to stave the escalating hyper-inflation, passed a resolution increasing the exchange rate to $40 for one Spanish Silver Dollar. 

Displayed is $5 and $50 Continental Currency, 1783 Spanish Milled Silver Dollar,  with the 1780 Journals of Congress resolution that increases, from 1 to 40 the amount of US dollars required to redeem one Spanish Silver dollar from the U.S. Treasury. This resolution effectively reduced the US National debt from 200 Million to 5 million Spanish Silver Dollars “Pieces Of Eight”

By 1781 the US Dollar was discontinued and the old currency was trading at $100 to 1 Pieces of Eight. The Continental Army was in the midst of the Yorktown Siege and faced with defaulting on payments for its military supplies and payroll. François Joseph Paul de Grasse, the French admiral designated to assist the Colonists, sought the help of Spain. Through Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis, 500,000 in silver pesos, was raised in Havana, Cuba within 24 hours enabling George Washington to continue the siege ultimately defeating Cornwallis and effectively ending the war with Great Britain one year later with first the Preliminary Peace Treaty of Paris in 1782 which fostered the signing of the September 3, 1783, Definitive Treaty of Peace between his Britannic Majesty and the United States of America.

TREATY OF PARIS November 1783 printing of the set of treaties that ended the American Revolutionary War. On 3 September 1783, representatives of King George III of Great Britain signed a treaty in Paris with representatives of the United States of America—commonly known as the Treaty of Paris (1783)—and two treaties at Versailles with representatives of King Louis XVI of France and King Charles III of Spain—commonly known as the Treaties of Versailles (1783). The previous day, a preliminary treaty had been signed with representatives of the States General of the Dutch Republic, but the final treaty which ended the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War was not signed until 20 May 1784.  The British lost their Thirteen Colonies and the defeat marked the end of the First British Empire. The United States gained more than it expected, thanks to the award of western territory. The other Allies had mixed-to-poor results. France won a propaganda victory over Britain after its defeat in the Seven Years War, however its material gains were minimal and its financial losses huge. It was already in financial trouble and its borrowing to pay for the war used up all its credit and created the financial disasters that marked the 1780s. Historians link those disasters to the coming of the French Revolution. The Dutch did not gain anything of significant value at the end of the war. The Spanish had a mixed result; they did not achieve their primary war goal of recovering Gibraltar, but they did gain some territory. The Spanish did not have to hand back West Florida, parts of Louisiana or Minorca, and were also given East Florida in exchange for the Bahamas.  Both East Florida and part of West Florida had been Spanish possessions before 1763, so the 1783 treaty did not specify boundaries, allowing the Spanish to claim that the 1763 boundaries still applied (the remainder of West Florida had been part of French Louisiana before 1763, and the rest of Louisiana had then been handed over to Spain). Louisiana land the Floridas were now solidly in the vast holdings of the Spanish Empire.   - Loan Courtesy of Klos Yavneh Academy Collection.

Spain followed the lead of the British governing West Florida and East Florida as two separate colonies but a border dispute soon arose with the United States.

Great Britain's Treaty with the US establish Florida's northern boundary at the as the 31st parallel north. Britain's 1783 Treaty with Spain establish no boundary and Spain maintained Florida extended north at least to the 32° 22′ boundary line established by Britain in 1764 after the Seven Years War. A dispute arose and the US delayed a treaty enabling the nation to grow stronger.

The Pennsylvania Packet, Sept. 27, 1788 includes a report from New Orleans of a disastrous fire.

In 1794 British Ambassador Thomas Pinckney was appointed as Envoy Extraordinary to Spain to settle the North Florida border dispute. He negotiated the Treaty of San Lorenzo or the Treaty of Madrid, in San Lorenzo de El Escorial on October 27, 1795. Pinckney's Treaty defined the boundaries of the United States with the Spanish colonies and guaranteed the United States navigation rights on the Mississippi River. 

The treaty set the western boundary of the United States, separating it from the Spanish Colony of Louisiana as the middle of the Mississippi River from the northern boundary of the United States to the 31st degree north latitude. The agreement put, for the first time, the lands of the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations of American Indians within the new boundaries of the United States. The territory ceded by Spain in Pinckney's Treaty was organized by the United States into the Mississippi Territory in 1798.

[Adams. John] - A  printing of President John Adams June 12, 1797 Message to Congress that they create a government for the Mississippi Territory similar to the Northwest Territory after the ratification of Pinckney's Treaty.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representative: I have received information from the commissioner appointed on the part of the United States, pursuant to the third article of our treaty with Spain, that the running and marking of the boundary line between the colonies of East and West Florida, and the territory of the United States, have been delayed by the officers of His Catholic Majesty; and that they have declared their intention to maintain his jurisdiction. and to suspend the withdrawing of his troops from the military posts they occupy within the territory of the United States, until the two Governments shall, by negotiation, have settled the meaning of the second article respecting the withdrawing of the troops, garrisons or settlements, of either party in the territory of the other; that is, whether, when the Spanish garrisons withdraw they are to leave the works standing, or to demolish them; and until, by an additional article to the treaty, the real property of the inhabitants shall be secured; and, likewise, until the Spanish officers are sure the Indians will be pacific. The two first questions if to be determined by negotiation, might be made subjects of discussion for years, and as no limitation of time can be prescribed to the other, a certainty, in the opinion of the Spanish officers, that the Indians will be pacific, it will be impossible to suffer it to remain an obstacle to the fulfillment of the treaty on the part Spain. -- To remove the first difficulty, I have determined to leave it to the discretion of the officers of His Catholic Majesty, when they withdraw his troops from the forts within the territory of the United States, either to leave the works standing or to demolish them; and to remove the second. I shall cause an assurance to be published and to be particularly communicated to the minister of His Catholic Majesty, and to the Governor of Louisiana, that the settlers or occupants of the lands in question, shall not be disturbed in their possessions by the troops of the United States, but, on the contrary, that they shall be protected in all their lawful claims; and, to prevent or remove every doubt on this point, it merits the consideration of Congress whether it will not be expedient immediately to pass a law, giving positive assurances to those inhabitants who, by fair and regular grants, or by occupancy, have obtained legal titles or equitable claims to lands in that country, prior to the unratification of the treaty between the United States and Spain, on the 25th of April, 1796. -- This country is rendered particularly valuable by its inhabitants, who are represented to amount to nearly four thousand, generally well affected and much attached to the United States, and zealous for the establishment of a Government under their authority.I therefore recommend to your consideration the expediency of erecting a government in the district of Natches similar to that established for the territory Northwest of the river Ohio, but with certain modifications, relative to titles in claims of land whether of individuals of companies, or to claims of jurisdiction of any individual state.  John Adams, President June 12, 1797

In 1799, Napoleon, came into power with the coup of 18 Brumaire and aimed, among other things, to restore France's presence on the continent. Three years earlier Spain had signed the Second Treaty of San Ildefonso with the Spanish Empire forcing them into a war with Great Britain. The war was going badly with the loss of Trinidad and Menorca in 1798 and later the attacks on Ferrol and Cadiz in 1800. 

In America, Spanish control of the important Mississippi port city of New Orleans brought in great wealth from its expensive tariffs but British attacks on Spain's colonies and her convoys back from America, along with its commercial blockade, added to an already worsening economic situation. Additionally, New Orleans was troublesome city, plagued with flooding, hordes of mosquitoes and yellow fever along. The city was prone to serious damage by even tropical storms, let alone hurricanes, due to its waterlogged swamp location. This NOLA Cash Cow now became a liability and helped increase Spain's national debt which by 1800 had increased eight-fold since the start of the war. A Third Treaty of San Ildefonso was a secretly negotiated between Napoleionic France and Spain in which the Spainish returned the colonial territory of Louisiana to France that was ceded in 1762. The treaty was concluded on October 1, 1800 between Louis Alexandre Berthier representing France and Don Mariano Luis de Urquijo for Spain. The treaty gave the King of Spain's son-in-law power over Tuscany in trade for returning the Louisiana Territory to French control. 

During this period the United States was in a Quasi-War on the high seas with France since 1798. The French navy inflicted substantial losses on American shipping. Secretary of State Timothy Pickering reported to Congress on June 21, 1797, that the French had seized 316 American merchant ships in the previous eleven months. In 1800 the British and Us Navy teamed up to stop the French naval attacks on both countries ships. On September 30th, 1800 commissioners signed A Convention between the French Republic, and the United States of America seeking to end the hostilities. The Peace Convention was not declared fully ratified by the US Senate until December 19, 1801. It was Proclaimed December 21, 1801 and on January 12th, 1802 President Jefferson issued his estimate on carrying out the Convention. 

Message of the President of the United States of America transmitting to Him from the Secretary of State and an Estimate for carrying into effect the Convention between the United States and the French Republic, in pursuance of a Resolution of 8th Instant. 12 January, 1802 Referred to the Committee of Ways and Means.

Eight months later, Spain's King Charles IV signed a decree transferring the Louisiana Territory to France and tensions , once again rose between the US and the French. The Spanish agent in New Orleans, acting on orders from the Spanish court, revoked Americans' access to the port's warehouses. This action prompted outrage in the United States. President Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison immediately attempted to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels while the opposition party,the Federalists, called for war and advocated Louisiana secession by a military invasion from the Upper Mississippi western territories. 

In January 1803 recommended that James Monroe join Robert R. Livingston who was in Paris as minister extraordinary trying to negotiate the acquisition of New Orleans. Monroe's instructions, drawn up by Secretary Madison, allocated $10 million for the purchase of New Orleans, and all or part of the Floridas. If this bid failed, Monroe was instructed to acquire just New Orleans, or, at the very least, secure U.S. access to the Mississippi and the port.

In France, a new war with Britain seemed inevitable, the army sent to suppress the Saint Domingue (Haiti) Slave Rebellion had been decimated by Yellow Fellow fever, and Napoleon had no resources to send troops to New Orleans to defend against a British attack from Canada. Consequently, when James Monroe reached Paris on April 12, 1803, he learned that Livingston was offered the opportunity for the United States to purchase all of Louisiana Territory. 

Livingston, Robert - Rare  Document Signed By Chancellor Robert Livingston who, along with James Monroe,  successfully negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte in 1803.

Monroe and Livingston immediately finalized the negotiations and on April 30th they and Barbé Marbois signed the Louisiana Territory Treaty in Paris for the acquisition of approximately 827,000 square miles that would double the size of the United States at the price of $15 million . 

[Louisiana Purchase] - Exhibited is the 1803 dual Language printing of the Louisiana Purchase in the  first edition of the Acts Passed at the First and Second Session of the Eighth Congress that includes  the acts, which established  the territory’s incorporation into the United States of America in 1803. The published "Acts" issued by congress contains the entire treaty in both French and English, as well as the "Convention Between the United States of America and the French Republic" dated April 30, 1803 and signed by Robert R. Livingston, James Monroe and Barbé Marbois in Paris. Also included are the six acts passed by the US Congress relating to the transfer of the territory from the French to the United States. These Six Enabling Acts comprise 125 pages and are identified as:
  1. Louisiana Territory transfer (which included West Florida) from France to the United States;
  2. Stock Payment created to fund the $11.25 million dollars payment to the French, and pay-back schedule;
  3. United States claims again the France as a result of the acquisition(resulting in an additional $3.75 million dollars;
  4. Collecting duties and the mechanisms to be employed within the new territories;
  5. Civil Government in the territories and how it would be funded and operated;
  6. Erecting the two territories which would comprise the whole of the Louisiana Purchase; (created a Territory of Orleans and one of Louisiana). Also regulated the imposition of slavery and the conditions under which it could be extended into the new territories.

Continuing on, the Acts report the Terms of Purchase, between the United States and France, are stated from pages 174 through 203, inclusively. -- Acts Passed at the First and Second Session of the Eighth Congress . Published by the Congress of the United States, Washington, 1803.

Two years earlier, the President had appointed William CC Claiborne Governor of the Mississippi Territory, who was a Republican that his vote for Jefferson in the disputed presidential election with Aaron Burr.

Exhibited here is a William Charles Cole Claiborne affidavit signed and dated October 31, 1803.  This ADS was written entirely by Claiborne just after President Thomas Jefferson appointed Mississippi Territorial Governor  as one of the commissioners to take formal possession of the Louisiana Territory from France.

Once the US Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase on October 20th, 1803, Thomas Jefferson sent Governor William C. C. Claiborne and General James Wilkinson to New Orleans to formally accept the transfer of Louisiana from France to the United States. On December 20, 1803 the Governor William C.C. Claiborne participated in the ceremonial transfer of Louisiana to the United States. In a Proclamation—written in English, French and Spanish—Claiborne announced to the residents of Louisiana that they now owed their allegiance to the United States and assured them that their rights would be protected by the U.S. Constitution.


President Jefferson announces the accomplishment of "this important acquisition, so favorable to the immediate interests of our Western citizens, so auspicious to the peace and security of the nation in general, which adds to our country territories so extensive and fertile, and to our citizens new brethren to partake of the blessings of freedom and self-government." the document recording the formal transfer of the Territory, signed in type on December 20, 1803, by the American Commissioners, Governor William Claiborne of the Mississippi Territory and General James Wilkinson, and by the French Commissioner Laussat, is printed.

Claiborne, acting Governor, issues his Proclamation and the Governor's Address to the Citizens of Louisiana on December 20. Printed here, these foundation documents declare the establishment of American sovereignty and "that the inhabitants thereof will be incorporated in the Union of the United States.to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States; they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property and the religion which they profess." He announces, "The American people receive you as brothers," urges Louisianans to "cultivate with assiduity among yourselves, the  advancement of political information," and to "encourage literature." FIRST EDITION.   - Loan Courtesy of Klos Yavneh Academy Collection. 

On March 26, 1804 Congress passed legislation that divided the Louisiana Purchase Territory into the Territory of Orleans (most of present-day Louisiana) and the District of Louisiana (the remaining Louisiana Purchase land). President Thomas Jefferson nominated, and the Senate confirmed, William C.C. Claiborne to be the Governor of the Territory of Orleans. Claiborne eventually became the first Governor of the state of Louisiana.

Unfortunately the 1800 Treaty of San Ildefonso with Spain and France did not specify the boundaries between Louisiana and West Florida. The Spanish continued to administer the eastern Louisiana portion as part of the West Florida province maintaining that it was not part of the territory returned to France under the Treaty of San Ildefonso.

The United States and Spain held long, inconclusive negotiations on the status of West Florida. During these negotiations, American settlers established a foothold in the area and resisted Spanish control. British settlers, who had remained after the 1783 Treaties, also resented Spanish rule, leading to a rebellion in 1810 and the establishment for exactly 90 days of the Republic of West Florida.

Important West Florida Rebellion Reporting: Just as our paper was going to press we received a letter from St. John's Plains (the seat of the West Florida Convention) dated July 26, from which we make the following extracts: 
The convention assembled yesterday appointed John Rhea, Esq. Chairman, and Sr. Andrew Steel, Secretary, with two Clerks, viz. George Mather and Samuel Crocker, Esqrs.  There is a great diversity of opinion among them, some being for independence, and others for supporting Spanish Laws.  Their situation is difficult, and it is expected they will close their first meeting without doing much that is decisive.   As the Convention sits with closed doors, and the members are not very communicative, I cannot inform you whether anything has been done.  I send you a list of the members, as perfect, as I can collect.  For New Feliciana – William Barrow, John H. Johnson, John Milis, and John Rhea.  For Baton Rouge – Thomas Lily, Philip Hickey, Edmund House, Lopas  For St. Helena Joseph Thomas, John W. Leonard, Williams, William Morgan.  For Tanchipabo – Cooper, and one name unknown. - The New England Palladium, September 4, 1810
On October 27, 1810, President James Madison issued a Proclamation Taking Possession of Part of Louisiana in support of the West Florida Louisiana Parishes that broke away from Spanish rule.

[Madison, James]  Message of the President of the United States, to the Two Houses of Congress, at the Commencement of the Third Session of the Eleventh Congress. December 5, 1810 with Documents Accompanying.   Washington: Roger G. Weightman, Printers, 1810.  AND Full printing of James Madison’s December 5, 1810 State of the Union Address in the Connecticut Courant, Harford, December 12, 1810.

In this State of the Union address President James Madison's State declares that West Florida was included in the Louisiana Purchase and is part of the United States:

Among the events growing out of the state of the Spanish Monarchy, our attention was imperiously attracted to the change developing itself in that portion of West Florida which, though of right appertaining to the United States, had remained in the possession of Spain awaiting the result of negotiations for its actual delivery to them. The Spanish authority was subverted and a situation produced exposing the country to ulterior events which might essentially affect the rights and welfare of the Union. In such a conjuncture I did not delay the interposition required for the occupancy of the territory west of the river Perdido, to which the title of the United States extends, and to which the laws provided for the Territory of Orleans are applicable. With this view, the proclamation of which a copy is laid before you was confided to the governor of that Territory to be carried into effect. The legality and necessity of the course pursued assure me of the favorable light in which it will present itself to the Legislature, and of the promptitude with which they will supply whatever provisions may be due to the essential rights and equitable interests of the people thus brought into the bosom of the American family.
The  bound Presidential Message also includes correspondence between Robert Smith, Secretary of State, and William Pinkney, the U.S. Minister in London & General John Armstrong the United States Minister to Napoleon's court in Paris.

On February 21, 1811 the debate on Louisiana Statehood ended in Congress and they passed an Act To Enable The People Of The Territory Of Orleans To Form A Constitution And State Government, and for the admission of such state into the union, with equal footing with the original states, and for other purposes. 

[Acts of the Territory of Orleans] - ACTS PASSED AT THE FIRST AND SECOND SESSIONS OF THE THIRD LEGISLATURE OF THE TERRITORY OF ORLEANS, bound in at the end with the English and French text on facing pages. Bound in contemporary suede with pages toned and spotted.  Noteworthy Acts include the establishment of the University of Orleans, An Act granting Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton the sole privilege of using steam boats for a limited time in this Territory, President James Madison PROCLAMATION RESPECTING TAKING POSSESSION OF PART OF LOUISIANA— October 27, 1810, and the dual language printing of  An Act Of Congress To Enable The People Of The Territory Of Orleans To Form A Constitution And State Government, and for the admission of such state into the union, with equal footing with the original states, and for other purposes.  - Loan Courtesy of Klos Yavneh Academy Collection. 
Under the 1811 Enabling Act a constitutional convention convened in New Orleans on November 4, 1811 and on January 22, 1812 the delegates signed Louisiana's first state constitution. President James Madison transmitted the proceedings and constitution to Congress on March 4, 1812

On March 20, 1812, the House of Representatives passed An Act for the Admission of the State of Louisiana into the Union, and to extend the Laws of the United States to the said State. After some debate, the House and Senate passed an act approving Louisiana's statehood. President James Madison signed the legislation on April 8, 1812 which designated April 30, 1812 as the day of formal admission into the Union. April 30 was significant because on that day in 1803 Robert Livingston and James Monroe signed the Louisiana Purchase Treaty and Conventions in Paris, France. Two months after Statehood Admission, the same Congress and President Madison would thrust the People of Louisiana into a third war with Great Britain. 

Exhibited are the Acts Passed at the First Session of the Twelfth Congress of the United States (Washington City, 1812), First Edition, 8vo, 6" x 9" Bound in the original blue wraps, 3-320, Table of Contents, index, Xii, Important because it contains the April 8, 1812 Act for the Admission of the State of Louisiana into the Union, and to extend the Laws of the United States to the said State and the June 18th, 1812 Act  declaring War between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the dependencies thereof and the United States of America and their territories. Also included are many other acts involving the war effort; raising regiments, supplies, naval efforts, etc..

During the War of 1812, the United States would hold onto the Louisiana Purchase thanks to General Andrew Jackson's victory over a superior British force in the Battle of New Orleans.

[Battle of New Orleans] – Exhibited here is the Gold Medal Legislation enacted by United States Congress as recommended by the Senate Committee on Military Affairs. The Resolutions that are printed report the expressive of thanks of Congress to Major General Jackson and the troops by and under his command for their gallantry and good conduct in the defense of New Orleans February 13, 1815. Printed by order of the Senate of the United States, a  gold medal was ordered by Congress to be struck in honor of  Andrew Jackson's "most signal and complete" victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans (December 1814?January 1815), "with a disparity of loss on  his part unexampled in military annals." The Jackson medal originally struck in Gold was also struck in bronze, and this issue that  is 2 1/2" in diameter is also exhibited - Loan Courtesy of Klos Yavneh Academy Collection.

After the War, Spain and the United States continued their disagreements over the east and western boundaries of the territory of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In the west, Spain considered the boundary to end at the west bank of the Mississippi River and the city of New Orleans. The United States claimed that the land they bought extended to the Summit of the Rocky Mountains.Eventually the U.S. conceded to claim only as far west as the Sabine River, but Spain insisted upon the Arroyo Hondo boundary; the disputed region was known as Neutral Ground.

On February 22, 1819, after years of negotiations the Adams-Onis Treaty was signed by John Quincy Adams, secretary of state, and Luis de Onís, Spanish minister. The Treaty gave Florida to the U.S. and set out the western boundaries between the U.S. and New Spain (now Mexico).

Acts of Louisiana 1818-1819 - Dual language printing including: “An Act For The Relief Of The Widow And Heirs Of The Late Governor Claiborne.” An Act To Determine The Mode of Obtaining The Testimony of The Ursuline Nuns in Civil Causes.” “Acts for the Death Penalty for The Attempted Rape Of White Women by Slaves and other People Of Color.” 

Ratification was postponed for two years, because Spain wanted to use the treaty as an incentive to keep the United States from giving diplomatic support to the revolutionaries in South America. As soon as the treaty was signed, the U.S. Senate ratified unanimously; because of Spain's stalling, a new ratification was necessary and this time there were objections to the Texas territory. The measures to expand the US western territory, championed by Henry Clay, were defeated in the U.S. Senate. 

Ratified on February 22, 1821, the treaty defined the borders more precisely, roughly granting Florida and Louisiana to the U.S. while giving to Spain everything west of Louisiana from Texas to California. The new boundary was to be the Sabine River north from the Gulf of Mexico to the 32nd parallel north, then due north to the Red River, west along the Red River to the 100th meridian west, due north to the Arkansas River, west to its headwaters, north to the 42nd parallel north, and finally west along that parallel to the Pacific Ocean. Informally this has been called the "Step Boundary", although the step-like shape of the boundary was not apparent for several decades—the source of the Arkansas, believed to be near the 42nd parallel. It was considered a triumph of American diplomacy. 

[Adams-Onis Treaty] - 1821 U.S. Florida Purchase from Spain Dual Language Printing Acts Passed at the Second Session of the Sixteenth Congress of the United States - First edition, Washington, D.C.: Published by Davis and Force, 1821 by Authority Of Congress.  This historic volume is bound and includes the official Congressional 1821 printing of the Adams-Onis Treaty with Spain that transferred Florida to the United States in both languages.  There are also numerous laws enacted for the governance of the new Florida territory. - Loan Courtesy of Klos Yavneh Academy Collection

The Adams-Onis Treaty finally concluded Spain's claims on the Louisiana and Florida Territories that had been aggressively pursued after it Declaration of War against Great Britain on June 21st, 1779.  

[Civil War] - New Orleans True Delta, Dec 27, 1860 newspaper. This issue has headlines and long reports on the Secession of South Carolina from the Union. AND Philadelphia Inquirer, May 31, 1861 - reports on "The Great Rebellion", "The Blockade of New Orleans", "Stampede of Fugitive Slaves", and "General Butler's Course Approved", AND Lincoln, Abraham – Message Of The President Of The United States on the Capture of New Orleans.

Primary Source exhibits are available for display in your community. The costs range from $1,000 to $25,000 depending on length of time on loan and the rarity of artifacts chosen. 



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