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New Orleans was first chosen as the site of a city in 1717, laid out in 1718, when the levees which protect it from the annual inundations of the river were immediately commenced, and steadily prosecuted to completion, ten years afterward. The colony of Louisiana (so named after Louis XIV.) remained a French possession until 1762, when it was ceded to Spain. New Orleans gradually increased in trade and population, but the colony outside of that city was of slight im

who did little to develop its resources, and were not popular with its mainly French inhabitants. In 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Consul, induced the feeble and decaying Bourbons of Spain, then in close alliance with revolutionary France, to retrocede to her Louisiana, almost without consideration; and the French flag once more waved over delighted New Orleans.

to conceal his death from the surrounding hostile savages, was sunk by his surviving followers in the deep current of that mighty stream. Of the entire expedition, less than half, an enfeebled and wretched remnant, finally reached the coast of Mexico, in the summer of 1543, glad to have escaped with their bare lives from the inhospitable swamps and savages they had so recklessly encountered. It does not appear that any of them, nor even De Soto himself, had formed any adequate conception of the importance under its Spanish rulers, portance of their discovery, of the magnitude of the river, or of the extent and fertility of the regions drained by its tributaries; since more than a century was allowed to transpire before the Mississippi was revisited by civilized men. And its next discoverers were not Spaniards, but Frenchmen; although Spain had long possessed and colonized Florida and Mexico on either side of its mouth. But the French-now firmly established in Canada, and penetrating by their traders and voyageurs the wild region stretching westward and south-westward from that Colony -obtained from the savages some account of this river about the year 1660; and in 1673, Marquette and Joliet, proceeding westward from Montreal, through the Great Lakes, reached the Mississippi above its junction with the Missouri, and descended it to within three days' journey of its mouth. In 1682, La Salle descended it to the Gulf of Mexico, and took formal possession of the region in the name of his king and country. A fort was erected on its banks by Iberville, about the year 1699; and in 1703, a settlement was made at St. Peters, on the Yazoo.

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In the United States, however, the transfer was regarded with regret and apprehension. Our settlers beyond the Alleghanies, who must export their surplus products through the lower Mississippi, or see them perish useless and valueless on their hands, had been for fifteen years in a state of chronic and by no means voiceless dissatisfaction with the alleged jealous hostility and obstructive regulations of the Spanish rulers of that essential outlet. Threats were freely uttered that they would soon descend the river and clear its lower banks of the Dons and drones who seemed to burrow there only as an impediment and a nuisance. The Spaniards were charged with fomenting intrigues in Kentucky and Tennessee, which had for their object the aliena



tion of the entire valley of the Ohio | which had seemed so niggardly when from the Union; and certain discon- conceded by the weakness of Spain, tented or desperate spirits were were now rather contracted than enpointed at and named by their neigh-larged, and were likely to be withbors as having sold themselves for drawn altogether. We had freely conmoney to the Spanish governor at temned and denounced the stupidity New Orleans, agreeing to lend all and blindness of King Log, but became their energies to the promotion of his suddenly grave and silent on the unabsurd scheme. So long as Spain expected advent of King Stork. held the gateway of the Mississippi, it seemed that no other sway there could be more unpopular or odious with our Western pioneers.

Mr. Jefferson, who had recently been called to the Presidency, and who mainly did the deeper thinking of the young and vigorous party which now ruled the country, regarded the change with alarm from still another aspect. Popular sym

But a 'sober second thought' was evinced from the moment that her flag had been supplanted by that of republican France. It was instinc-pathy with and admiration for repubtively and universally felt that even the growls and threats, in which our people so freely indulged so long as the effete and despised Spaniard was their object, would no longer be politic nor safe. Directly after the general pacification of Europe, in 1802, by the treaty of Amiens, a powerful French expedition had sailed for the West Indies; and, though its ostensible and real destination was Hayti, the apprehension was here general and reasonable that it would ultimately, if not immediately, be debarked on the banks of the Mississippi. The privileges of navigation and of deposit,

Upon learning of this important transfer, Mr. Jefferson (April 18, 1802) wrote to Mr. Livingston, our Minister at Paris, as follows:

"The cession of Louisiana and the Floridas by Spain to France, works most sorely on the United States. On this subject, the Secretary of State has written to you fully, yet I cannot forbear recurring to it personally, so deep is the impression it makes on my mind. It completely reverses all the political relations of the United States, and will form a new epoch in our political course. Of all nations of any consideration, France is the one which hitherto has offered the fewest points on which we could have any conflict of rights, and the most points of a communion of interests. From these causes, we have ever looked to her as our natural friend, as one

lican France, with a corresponding aversion to and hatred of aristocratic England, were among the most potent influences which had combined to overthrow the Federalists here and bring the Republicans into power. But all this was now morally certain to be reversed. France, planting herself, as it were, at our back door, there erecting fortifications, and jealously scrutinizing, if not positively arresting, every one who should undertake to pass in or out, became inevitably and predominantly the object of American distrust and hostility

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with which we could never have an occasion of difference. Her growth, therefore, we viewed as our own-her misfortunes ours. There is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural and habitual enemy. It is New Orleans, through which the produce of threeeighths of our territory must pass to market; and, from its fertility, it will ere long yield more than half of our whole produce, and contain more than half of our inhabitants. France, placing herself in that door, assumes to us the attitude of defiance. Spain might have retained it quietly for years. Her pacific dispositions, her feeble state, would induce her to increase our facilities there, so that her possession of the place would be hardly felt by us, and it would not, perhaps, be very long before some circumstances might arise, which might make the cession

hitherto accruing to the Republican or Democratic party from our relations with Europe, and our sympathies with one or the other of the parties which divided her, would be transferred at once to the Federalists, and probably doubled or quadrupled in intensity and efficiency. The vigilant and far-seeing Jefferson, always a patriot, and always intensely a partisan, perceived the peril at once to his country and his party, and resolved by a bold stroke to avert it. He determined that Louisiana should be ours, and perceived, in the gathering storm of war, destined so soon to sweep away the fragile frost-work of the recent and unreal peace, a means of bending the astute and selfish Napoleon to his will. Louisiana, so recently and easily reacquired by France, must become a peril and a burden to her upon the outbreak of fresh hostilities with a power so superior in maritime strength as Great Britain. Tamely to surrender it, would be damaging, if not disgraceful; to hold it, would cost a fleet and an army, and the transfer of this fleet and army to a point so distant as the Mexican Gulf was at best a hazardous enterprise. France badly needed money; we needed, or at least covet

of it to us the price of something of more worth to her. Not so can it ever be in the hands of France. The impetuosity of her temper, the energy and restlessness of her character, placed in a point of eternal friction with us, and our character, which, though quiet and loving peace and the pursuit of wealth, is high-minded, despising wealth in competition with insult or injury, enterprising and energetic as any nation on earth; these circumstances render it impossible that France and the United States can continue long friends, when they meet in so irritable a position. They, as well as we, must be blind if they do not see this; and we must be very improvident if we do not begin to make arrangements on that hypothesis. The day that France takes possession of New Orleans fixes the sentence which is to restrain her forever within her low-water mark. It seals the union of two na

ed, Louisiana: and, where the rulers on either side are men so capable and clear-sighted as Bonaparte and Jef ferson, an arrangement mutually advantageous is not likely to fail. After some skillful diplomatic fencing-Mr. Jefferson talking as if the island of Orleans and the Floridas. were all that we greatly cared for, when he meant from the first to have the whole and after some natural higgling about the price, the bargain was struck on the 30th of April, 1803. The hungry treasury of France was richer by twelve millions of dollars; four millions more were paid by our government to our own citizens, in satisfaction of their righteous claims against France for spoliations and other damages; and the United States became the unquestioned owner and possessor of the entire Valley of the Mississippi; acquiring by this bloodless purchase an area of virgin soil, subject to the Indians' rights of inheritance and occupancy, worth many times its entire cost.

There is no evidence that this purchase was made in the interest of Slavery, or with any reference to the perpetuation of its existence or the increase of its power. But this does not at all impinge on the fact that

tions, who, in conjunction, can maintain exclusive possession of the ocean. From that moment, we must marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation. We must turn all our attention to a maritime force, for which our resources place us on very high ground: and, having formed and connected together a power which may render re-enforcement of her settlements here impossible to France, make the first cannon which shall be fired in Europe the signal for tearing up any settlement she may have made, and for holding the two continents of America in sequestration for the common purpose of the united British and American nations. This is not a state of things we seek or desire. It is one which this measure, if adopted by France, forces on us, as necessarily as any other cause, by the laws of nature, brings on its necessary effect."-Jefferson's Works, vol. iv., p. 431.


Slavery in our Union did secure by this acquisition a vast extension of its power and influence. Louisiana came to us a slaveholding territory; had been such, whether under French or Spanish rule, for generations. Though its population was sparse, it was nevertheless widely dispersed along the Mississippi and its lower tributaries, there being quite considerable settlements at and in the vicinity of St. Louis. Slavery had thus already achieved a lodgment and a firm foothold in this vast, inviting domain. Possession is notoriously nine points of the law; but in this case the tenth was not wanting. The white inhabitants were habituated to slaveholding, liked it, and indolently believed it to be conducive to their importance, their wealth, and their comfort. Of the swarm of emigrants and adventurers certain to pour in upon them as a consequence of our acquisition, a large majority would naturally come from the States nearest them, that is, from the preponderantly and inveterately Slave States; while the Northern adventurers, hying with alacrity to such a tempting field for speculation and experiment, were pretty sure to interpose no fanatical objection to a social condition unanimously pronounced so pleasant and profitable by all who were permitted to speak at all on the subject. Moreover, the treaty of cession had expressly stipulated that the inhabitants of Louisiana "should be incorporated into the Union of the United States, and admitted, as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages, and immunities of citizens of the United States.


| And, in the mean time, they should be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and the religion which they professed." A just-no, even a literal construction of this provision, giving to the word "inhabitants" its natural and full signification-might have secured liberty, with the enjoyment of all the "rights, advantages, and immunities of citizens of the United States," to the colored as well as the white Louisianians of that day. But it is hardly supposable that this was really intended by the treacherous murderer of Toussaint, just signally baffled in his formidable attempt to reënslave the freedmen of Hayti. It is very certain that this construction was never put in practice, but that those who had been slaves under Spanish and French rule in Louisiana remained so under the flag of our country, dying in bondage unless specially emancipated, and leaving their children the sole inheritance of their sad condition; and that slaveholders, whether in fact or in purpose only, eagerly hastened to our new purchase and rapidly covered its most inviting localities with cotton-fields and slavehuts. The day that saw Louisiana transferred to our Union is one of woeful memory to the enslaved children of unhappy Africa.

The plant known as Cotton, whence the fiber of that name is mainly obtained, appears to be indigenous in most tropical and semitropical countries, having been found growing wild by Columbus in St. Domingo, and by later explorers throughout the region of the lower Mississippi and its tributaries.

stated that "seven bags of cottonwool" were among the exports of Charleston, S. C., in 1748, and that trifling shipments from that port were likewise made in 1754 and 1757.

In 1784, it is recorded that eight bags, shipped to England, were seized at the custom-house as fraudulently entered: "cotton not being a production of the United States." The export of 1790, as returned, was eighty-one bags; and the entire cotton crop of the United States at that time was probably less than the product of some single plantation in our day.

Cortes found it in use by the half- | more for ornament than use. It is civilized Mexicans; and it has been rudely fabricated in Africa from time immemorial. India, however, is the earliest known seat of the cotton manufacture, and here it long ago attained the highest perfection possible prior to the application of steam, with complicated machinery, to its various processes; and hence it appears to have gradually extended westward through Persia and Arabia, until it attracted the attention of the Greeks, and was noticed by Herodotus about 450 B. C., as the product of an Indian tree, and the staple of an extensive manufacture. Later Greek accounts confirm the impression that the tree or shrub variety was cultivated in India previously to the plant or annual now by far the more commonly grown. The Romans began to use cotton fabrics before the time of Julius Cæsar, and the cotton-plant was grown in Sicily and along the northern coast of the Mediterranean so early as the tenth century. The culture, however, does not appear to have ever attained a great importance in any portion of the world regarded by the Greeks and Romans as civilized, prior to its recent establishment in Egypt, in obedience to the despotic will of Ibrahim Pacha.

In the British colonies now composing this country, the experiment of cotton-planting was tried so early as 1621; and in 1666 the growth of the cotton-plant is on record. The cultivation slowly and fitfully expanded throughout the following century, extending northward to the eastern shore of Maryland and the southernmost point of New Jerseywhere, however, the plant was grown

For, though the plant grew luxuriantly and produced abundantly throughout tide-water Virginia and all that portion of our country lying southward and south-westward of Richmond, yet the enormous labor required to separate the seed from the tiny handful of fibres wherein it was imbedded, precluded its extensive and profitable cultivation. It was calcuted that the perfect separation of one pound of fibre from the seed was an average day's work; and this fact presented a formidable barrier to the production of the staple in any but a region like India, where labor can be hired for a be hired for a price below the cost of subsisting slaves, however wretchedly, in this country. It seemed that the limit of American cotton cultivation had been fully reached, when an event occurred which speedily revolutionized the industry of our slaveholding States and the commerce and manufactures of the world.

ELI WHITNEY, a native of Westborough, Worcester County, Massachusetts, born December 8, 1765, was

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