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preliminary delay, to advise the authorities of his approach, he ascends the Mississippi, anchors before the city, disembarks his troops, and in public, before the displeased and silent populace, but amidst the cheers of the soldiery, formally receives possession of Western Louisiana for the crown of Spain. The French flag is lowered, the Spanish hoisted in its stead, and the Spanish authority is forthwith installed throughout the province.
The aggregate population of Western Louisiana alone at the time of the trausfer, was more than thirteen thousand five hundred souls; and the exports of the province for the past year had reached the amount of a quarter of a million of dollars.
O'Reilly, the Spanish Governor, and a true Spaniard, haughty, passionate, gloomy and false, promised oblivion for offences past, and pardon to all who should submit to his authority. Yet almost his first official act was the sudden' arrest of four of the most prominent French citizens, who were treacherously seized and hurried away to a place of military imprisonment, while at an entertainment at O'Reilly's own house, upon his own invitation. Within a few days the tyrant unmasked himself still further by arresting eight more well-known citizens. Of these twelve, one was murdered by his guards in attempting to reach his frantic wife, who strove to visit him in prison ; five were shot in public, and their estates
OPPRESSION OF THE SPANISH GOVERNOR.
confiscated; four imprisoned in the dungeons of the Moro at Havana, and two only acquitted.
O'Reilly having thus substituted the silence of fear for the murmurs of dissatisfaction, proceeded to abolish all the French forms of government, and to erect the Spanish courts and municipal institutions instead, both in city and country. Spanish became the official language in keeping all records and proceedings; and this change having been fully completed, many Spanish immigrants began to enter the province, even so numerously, as to produce for a time a serious scarcity of provisions.
In this change of laws, the ferocious and despotic governor paid no heed to the customs or preferences of the French ; and established so many regulations of a character oppressive to them, that many of the most valuable citizens of that nation fled out of that country to St. Domingo. Hereupon, the governor refused to grant further passports, and thus forced them to remain under the tyranny of his harsh administration.
O'Reilly's conduct, however, brought upon him the severe displeasure of his sovereign; and at the end of one year he was recalled to Spain in disgrace.
Under the administrations of a succession of able and moderate governors, Unzaga, Galvez, who enlarged his government by re-conqnering from England for Spain the temporary possession of all Florida, Miro, and Carondelet, the government of Louisiana was of a wise and liberal character. The oppressive restrictions of O'Reilly were rescinded, and many judicious measures were taken to confirm and increase the strength and prosperity of the province.
Under Governor Miro's administration it was that the first and only attempt was made to introduce into the province that terrific auxiliary engine of Catholic polity, the Romish Inquisition. Under his mild, , wise, and popular management of the province, the Pope, not satisfied with the exclusive official recognition of the Roman Catholic faith, and with the support of its establishment by government funds, thought proper to provide for the pestilent heresies which it was apprehended would creep in from the United States by appointing a clergyman of New Orleans, Commissary of the Holy Office. Miro, under the royal instructions, notified the ecclesiastics of the king's prohibition of the exercise of this authority within the province, and forbade him therefrom ; but the priest, on the usual plea of clerical usurpers, that he must obey God rather than man, coolly proceeded to the performance of the interdicted duties. Miro, however, took prompt measures to enforce his orders; and the refractory father was awakened at midnight by an officer with eighteen grenadiers, against whom his spiritual weapons not evailing, he was quickly stowed aboard of a vessel
EXPANSION OF THE ANGLO-AMERICAN ELEMENT. 263
just ready to sail for Spain, and by daylight next morning was safely on his way to Europe. The discouraged Romish see made no further efforts to introduce this instrument of pontifical tyranny into Louisiana.
But now the utmost settlements and still more advaneed pioneers of yet another civilization, begin to press closer and closer upon the Spanish frontiers. All the vast valley east of the Mississippi, from the distant northern lakes down to the present borders of Georgia, and the southern line of Tennessee is filling up with hunters, traders, and close behind them with the steadily advancing ranks of agricultural settlers. Agricultural products increase and multiply; and by necessary consequence the swelling currents of trade seek their natural ontlet by the river, and their natural depôt at New Orleans. The free and bold AngloAmericans will bring a vast commerce yearly to that city, but they are unaccustomed to restrictions upon trade, or to the tedious formalisms of the Spanish authorities. These last on their part, are apprehensive exceedingly of the effects to be feared from the contact of such men with the inflammable and even yet unreconciled French Creoles, and especially of their securing a footing as landed settlers within the province. The laws respecting land grants are or dered to be most strictly construed in the impediment of any applicants from the United States. A most irritating and vexatious system of inspections and arbitrary duties is set up along the river, and enforced by fine or confiscation. The Spanish officials who, with their forms and ceremonies, have imported at least a full share of the shameful corruptions of their native tribunals, are most prone to this latter penalty; that they may turn the proceeds into their private treasures instead of that of the State. And, moreover, there is long dispute and reluctant delay on the part of Spain before withdrawing from the. “Natchez District,” east of the river, although it is confessedly north of the true boundary between the United States and the Spanish province of Florida.
The farmers of Kentucky and Ohio and all the wide northwest grow more and more impatient; and the hot-blooded Georgians insist upon the occupation of their rightful domain to the westward. They vow revenge against Spain, and they even threaten the federal government for delaying to secure for them their natural and necessary rights. The Spanish governors, taking advantage of their circumstances, intrigue long and industriously to induce the young commonwealths within the valley to secede, and either swear allegiance to the Spanish crown, or to set up a union for themselves under its protection. There is a party for each of these hopeful schemes. There is another and a stronger one for the armed invasion of Louisiana, and the seizure by force of a right so clear