HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS IN NEW ORLEANS

Download HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS IN NEW ORLEANS

Post on 12-Jan-2017

218 views

Category:

Documents

6 download

TRANSCRIPT

North Carolina Office of Archives and HistoryHISTORICAL 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 12:35Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. .North Carolina Office of Archives and History is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to The North Carolina Historical Review.http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ncoahhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/23515093?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspHISTORICAL 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 time. [463] This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp464 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 This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspHistokical 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 Orleans. 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 This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp466 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 This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspHistoeical 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 authorities. 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 This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp468 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 : This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspHistorical 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 This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp470 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 copies). 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, This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspHistorical 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, 1914. 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. 10, 1878. 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. This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp472 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, 1899. 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 This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspHistorical 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 1698-1724. 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 This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp474 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 War. This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspHistorical 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 urgent. 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 This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp476 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. This content downloaded from 194.29.185.66 on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:35:22 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspArticle Contentsp. 463p. 464p. 465p. 466p. 467p. 468p. 469p. 470p. 471p. 472p. 473p. 474p. 475p. 476Issue 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

Recommended

View more >