Louisiana

LOUISIANA.Loo-ee-ze-ah´na.
"Creole State."

Named in honor of Louis XIV., King of France, when Louisiana was first colonized; first permanent settlement made by French at New Orleans, 1718: admitted 1812; seceded January, 1861; re-admitted June, 1868.

Area, 48,720 square miles; greatest length, east and west, 300 miles; breadth, 240 miles; coast line, 1,256 miles; internal water communication, 2,500 miles; number counties, 58.

Temperature at New Orleans: winter, 53° to 61°; summer, 81° to 83°; rainfall, 51 inches.

New Orleans, metropolis, port of entry and largest cotton market in the world; pop., 216,090; capital until 1847, and again from 1868 to 1881. Baton Rouge, capital; pop., 7,197. Pop. Shreveport, 8,009. Morgan City, port of entry. State institution for insane at Jackson; for deaf mutes and blind, Baton Rouge.

Number farms, 1860, 17,328; 1870, 28,481; 1880, 48,292. Average value per acre, cleared land, $14.36; woodland, $3.53; 57 per cent. of laborers are engaged in agriculture; rural income, per capita, $209. Latest statistics give 312,000 bu. salt; 1,318,110 bu. sweet potatoes; 175,000 acres sugar cane; 122,982 hhds. sugar; 11,696,248 gals. molasses; 23,188,311 lbs. rice; corn crop, 1884, 11,007,000 bu.; acreage of oats, 35,119, producing 404,000 bu.; cotton, 995,000 bales.

Salaries of State Officers.
Governor $4,000
Lieut. Gov.$8 pr day
Treasurer 2,000
Sec'y of State 1,800
Auditor 2,500
Attorney Gen.3,000
Adjutant Gen.2,000
Supt. Pub. Inst.2,000
Com'r of Agr. and Immig.2,000
Chief Justice 5,000
4 Asso. Justices 5,000
Senators,
Representatives
brace
$4 pr day
and mileage
2 District Judges 3,500 to 4,500
Col. of Customs, N. O.7,000
Col. Inter. Rev.3,875
Surveyor Gen.1,800
Chart of Molasses Production by State - headed by Louisiana
Chf. Draftsman $1,500
Supt. of Mint 3,500
Chief Clerk 2,000
Cashier 2,000
Presidential P. O.
Alexandria $1,300
Baton Rouge 1,700
Donaldsonville 1,400
Franklin 1,100
Lake Charles 1,300
Monroe 1,400
New Iberia 1,500
New Orleans 3,700
Opelousas 1,100
Plaquemine 1,200
Shreveport 2,200
Thibodeaux 1,300

Ranks first in sugar and molasses, third in rice, seventh in cotton, ninth in salt. Total number industries, 1,553; capital invested, $11,462,468; value products, $24,205,183.

Population, 939,946: male, 468,754; female, 471,192; native, 885,800; foreign, 54,146; white, 454,954; colored, 483,655; Chinese, 489; Indians, 848; slaves, 1860, 331,726. Legislature and State officers elected quadrennially; members Congress, biennially. State elections, Tuesday after third Monday in April; number Senators, 36; Representatives, 98; sessions biennial, in even-numbered years, meeting second Monday in May; limit of session, 60 days; terms of Senators and Representatives, 4 years each.

Number electoral votes, 8; number voters, 216,787; colored, 107,977; native white, 81,777; foreign white, 27,033. Idiots, insane and criminals excluded from voting.

Sugar cane first cultivated in the United States, near New Orleans, 1751, and first sugar mill used 1758.

Exports, 1882, $90,238,503; imports, $10,611,353; duties collected, $2,046,804; railroad mileage, Jan. 1, 1886, 1,397.

Legal interest, 5; by contract, 8; usury forfeits entire interest.

Map of Louisiana


Louisiana, its Discovery and Vicissitudes

The transfer of Louisiana to the United States is one of the most interesting events in the history of our country. In the year 1800, Spain, then in possession of the vast region west of the Mississippi, ceded it to France. The whole country west of the majestic river appropriately called the Father of Waters, was then called Louisiana, and its boundaries were very obscurely defined. Indeed neither the missionary nor the hunter had penetrated but a very short distance into those unknown wilds. It was in the year 1541 that De Soto, marching from Florida across the country, came to the banks of this magnificent river, near the present site of Memphis. He knew not where it took its rise, or where it emptied its swollen flood. But he found a stream more than a mile in width, of almost fathomless depth, rolling its rapid, turbid stream, on which were floated innumerable logs and trees, through an almost uninhabited country of wonderful luxuriance. He was in search of gold, and crossing the river, advanced in a north-westerly direction about two hundred miles, till he came within sight of the Highlands of the White River. He then turned in a southerly direction, and continued his explorations, till death soon terminated his melancholy career.

More than one hundred and thirty years passed over these solitudes, when James Marquette, a French missionary among the Indians at Saint Marys, the outlet of Lake Superior, resolved to explore the Mississippi, of whose magnificence he had heard much from the lips of the Indians, who had occasionally extended their hunting tours to its banks. He was inured to all the hardships of the wilderness, seemed to despise worldly comforts, and had a soul of bravery which could apparently set all perils at defiance. And still he was indued with a poetic nature, which reveled in the charms of these wild and romantic realms, as he climbed its mountains and floated in his canoe over its silent and placid streams. Even then it was not known whether the Mississippi emptied its majestic flood into the Pacific Ocean or into the Gulf of Mexico. The foot of the white man upon the shores of Lake Superior, had never penetrated beyond the Indian village, where the Fox River enters into Green Bay. From this point Marquette started for the exploration of the Mississippi. The party consisted of Mr. Marquette, a French gentleman by the name of Joliete, five French voyageurs and two Indian guides. They transported their two birch canoes on their shoulders across the portage from the Fox River to the Wisconsin river. Paddling rapidly down this stream through realms of silence and solitude, they soon entered the majestic Mississippi, more than fifteen hundred miles above its mouth.

Marquette seems to have experienced in the highest degree the romance of his wonderful voyage, for he says that he commenced the descent of the mighty river with "a joy that could not be expressed." It was the beautiful month of June, 1673, the most genial season of the year. The skies were bright above them. The placid stream was fringed with banks of wonderful luxuriance and beauty, the rocky cliffs at times assuming the aspect of majestic castles of every variety of architecture; again the gently swelling hills were robed in sublime forests, and again the smooth meadows, in their verdure, spread far away to the horizon. Rapidly the canoes, gently guided by the paddles, floated down the stream.

Having descended the river about one hundred and eighty miles, they came to a very well trod Indian trail leading back from the river into the interior. Marquette and Joliete had the curiosity and the courage to follow this trail for six miles, until they came to an Indian village. It would seem that some of the Indians there, in their hunting excursions, had wandered to some of the French settlements; for four of their leading men, dressed in the most gorgeous display of barbaric pomp, "brilliant with many colored plumes," came out to meet them and conducted them to the cabin of their chief. He addressed them in the following words:

"How beautiful is the sun, Frenchman, when thou comest to visit us. Our whole village welcomes thee. In peace thou shalt enter all our dwellings."

After a very pleasant visit they returned to their boats and resumed their voyage. They floated by the mouth of the turbid Missouri, little dreaming of the grandeur of the realms watered by that imperial stream and its tributaries. They passed the mouth of the Ohio, which they recognized as the Belle Rivière, which the Indians then called the Wabash. As they floated rapidly away towards the south they visited many Indian villages on the banks of the stream, where the devoted missionary, Marquette, endeavored to proclaim the gospel of Christ.

"I did not," says Marquette, "fear death. I should have esteemed it the greatest happiness to have died for the glory of God."

Thus they continued their exploration as far south as the mouth of the Arkansas river, where they were hospitably received in a very flourishing Indian village. Being now satisfied that the Mississippi river entered the Gulf of Mexico, somewhere between Florida and California, they returned to Green Bay by the route of the Illinois river. By taking advantage of the eddies, on either side of the stream, it was not difficult for them, in their light canoes, to make the ascent.

Marquette landed on the western banks of Lake Michigan to preach the gospel to a tribe of Indians called the Miames, residing near the present site of Chicago. Joliete returned to Quebec to announce the result of their discoveries. He was received with great rejoicing. The whole population flocked to the cathedral, where the Te Deum  was sung.

Five years passed away, during which the great river flowed almost unthought of, through its vast and sombre wilderness. At length in the year 1678, La Salle received a commission from Louis the XIV. of France to explore the Mississippi to its mouth. Having received from the king the command of Fort Frontenac, at the northern extremity of Lake Ontario, and a monopoly of the fur trade in all the countries he should discover, he sailed from Larochelle in a ship well armed and abundantly supplied, in June, 1678. Ascending the St. Lawrence to Quebec, he repaired to Fort Frontenac. With a large number of men he paddled, in birch canoes, to the southern extremity of Lake Ontario, and, by a portage around the falls of Niagara, entered Lake Erie. Here he built a substantial vessel, called the Griffin, which was the first vessel ever launched upon the waters of that lake. Embarking in this vessel with forty men, in the month of September, a genial and gorgeous month in those latitudes, he traversed with favoring breezes the whole length of the lake, a voyage of two hundred and sixty-five miles, ascended the straits and passed through the Lake of St. Clair, and ran along the coast of Lake Huron three hundred and sixty miles to Michilimackinac, where the three majestic lakes, Superior, Michigan and Huron, form a junction.

Here a trading post was established, which subsequently attained world-wide renown, and to which the Indians flocked with their furs from almost boundless realms. Mr. Schoolcraft, who some years after visited this romantic spot, gives the following interesting account of the scenery and strange life witnessed there. As these phases of human life have now passed away, never to be renewed, it seems important that the memory of them should be perpetuated:

"Nothing can present a more picturesque and refreshing spectacle to the traveler, wearied with the lifeless monotony of a voyage through Lake Huron, than the first sight of the island of Michilimackinac, which rises from the watery horizon in lofty bluffs imprinting a rugged outline along the sky and capped with a fortress on which the American flag is seen waving against the blue heavens. The name is a compound of the word Misril, signifying great, and Mackinac  the Indian word for turtle, from a fancied resemblance of the island to a great turtle  lying upon the water.

"It is a spot of much interest, aside from its romantic beauty, in consequence of its historical associations and natural curiosities. It is nine miles in circumference, and its extreme elevation above the lake is over three hundred feet. The town is pleasantly situated around a small bay at the southern extremity of the island, and contains a few hundred souls, which are sometimes swelled to one or two thousand by the influx of voyageurs, traders and Indians. On these occasions its beautiful harbor is seen checkered with American vessels at anchor, and Indian canoes rapidly shooting across the water in every direction.

"It was formerly the seat of an extensive fur trade; at present it is noted for the great amount of troutand white fish annually exported. Fort Mackinac stood on a rocky bluff overlooking the town. The ruins of Fort Holmes are on the apex of the island. It was built by the British in the war of 1812, under the name of Fort George, and was changed to its present appellation after the surrender to the Americans, in compliment to the memory of Major Holmes, who fell in the attack upon the island.

"The old town of Michilimackinac stood at the extreme point of the peninsula of Michigan, nine miles south of the island. Eight years before La Salle's expedition, Father Marquette, the French missionary, visited this spot with a party of Hurons, upon whom he prevailed to locate themselves. A fort was soon constructed, and became an important post. It continued to be the seat of the fur trade, and the undisturbed rendezvous of the Indian tribes during the whole period that the French exercised dominion over the Canadas."

Here at Michilimackinac, La Salle purchased a rich cargo of furs, exchanging for them his goods at an immense profit. The Griffin, laden with wealth, set out on her return and was wrecked by the way with total loss. La Salle with his companions had embarked in birch canoes, and descending Lake Michigan to near its southern extremity, they landed and erected a fort which they called Miamis. They then carried their canoes across to the Illinois river and paddled down that stream until they came near to the present site of Peoria, where they established another fort, which La Salle, grief-stricken in view of his loss, named Crève-Cœur, or Heartsore. Here the energetic and courageous adventurer left his men in winter quarters, while, with but three companions, he traversed the wilderness on foot, amidst the snows of winter, to Fort Frontenac, a distance of fifteen hundred miles. After an absence of several weeks, he returned with additional men and the means of building a large and substantial flat-bottomed boat, with which to descend the Illinois river to the Mississippi, and the latter stream to its mouth.

The romantic achievement was successfully accomplished. The banners of France were unfurled along the banks of the majestic river and upon the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. This whole region which France claimed by the right of discovery, was named in honor of the king of France, Louisiana. Its limits were necessarily quite undefined. In 1684, a French colony of two hundred and eighty persons was sent out to effect a settlement on the Lower Mississippi. Passing by the mouth of the river without discovering it, they landed in Texas, and took possession of the country in the name of the king of France. Disaster followed disaster. La Salle died, and the colonists were exterminated by the Indians. Not long after this, all the country west of the Mississippi was ceded by France to Spain, and again, some years after, was surrendered back again by Spain to France. We have not space here to allude to the details of these varied transactions. But this comprehensive record seems to be essential to the full understanding of the narrative upon which we have entered.

It was in the year 1763 that Louisiana was ceded, by France, to Spain. In the year 1800, it was yielded back to France, under Napoleon, by a secret article in the treaty of Sn. Ildefonso. It had now become a matter of infinite moment to the United States that the great Republic should have undisputed command of the Mississippi, from its source to its mouth. President Jefferson instructed our Minister at Paris, Robert Livingston, to negotiate with the French Government for the purchase of Louisiana. France was then at war with England. The British fleet swept triumphantly all the seas. Napoleon, conscious that he could not protect Louisiana from British arms, consented to the sale. We are informed that on the 10th of April, 1803, he summoned two of his ministers in council, and said to them:

"I am fully sensible of the value of Louisiana; and it was my wish to repair the error of the French diplomatists who abandoned it in 1763. I have scarcely recovered it before I run the risk of losing it. But if I am obliged to give it up it shall cost more to those who force me to part with it, than to those to whom I yield it. The English have despoiled France of all her Northern possessions in America, and now they covet those of the South. I am determined that they shall not have the Mississippi. Although Louisiana is but a trifle compared with their vast possessions in other parts of the globe, yet, judging from the vexation they have manifested on seeing it return to the power of France, I am certain that their first object will be to obtain possession of it.

"They will probably commence the war in that quarter. They have twenty vessels in the Gulf of Mexico, and our affairs in St. Domingo are daily getting worse, since the death of Le Clere. The conquest of Louisiana might be easily made, and I have not a moment to lose in putting it out of their reach. I am not sure but that they have already began an attack upon it. Such a measure would be in accordance with their habits; and in their place I should not wait. I am inclined, in order to deprive them of all prospect of ever possessing it, to cede it to the United States. Indeed I can hardly say I cede it, for I do not yet possess it. And if I wait but a short time, my enemies may leave me nothing but an empty title to grant to the Republic I wish to conciliate. They only ask for one city of Louisiana; but I consider the whole colony as lost. And I believe that in the hands of this rising power, it will be more useful to the political and even the commercial interests of France, than if I should attempt to retain it. Let me have both of your opinions upon this subject."

One of the ministers, Barbé Marbois, cordially approved of the plan of "cession." The other opposed it. After long deliberation, the conference was closed, without Napoleon making known his decision. The next day he sent for Barbé Marbois, and said to him:

"The season for deliberation is over. I have determined to part with Louisiana. I shall give up not only New Orleans, but the whole colony without reservation. That I do not undervalue Louisiana I have sufficiently proved, as the object of my first treaty with Spain was to recover it. But though I regret parting with it, I am convinced that it would be folly to persist in trying to keep it. I commission you, therefore, to negotiate this affair with the envoys of the United States. Do not wait the arrival of Mr. Munroe, but go this very day and confer with Mr. Livingston.

"Remember, however, that I need ample funds for carrying on the war; and I do not wish to commence it by levying new taxes. During the last century, France and Spain have incurred great expense in the improvement of Louisiana, for which her trade has never indemnified them. Large sums have been advanced to different companies, which have never returned to the treasury. It is fair that I should require payment for these. Were I to regulate my demands by the importance of this territory to the United States, they would be unbounded. But being obliged to part with it, I shall be moderate in my terms. Still, remember I must have fifty millions of francs ($10,000,000), and I will not consent to take less. I would rather make some desperate effort to preserve this fine country."

Negotiations commenced that day. Soon Mr. Munroe arrived. On the 30th of April, 1803, the treaty was signed, the United States paying fifteen million dollars for the entire territory. It was stipulated by Napoleon that Louisiana should be, as soon as possible, incorporated into the Union; and that its inhabitants should enjoy the same rights, privileges, and immunities as other citizens of the United States. The third article of the treaty, securing to them these benefits, was drawn up by Napoleon himself. He presented it to the plenipotentiaries with these words:

"Make it known to the people of Louisiana, that we regret to part with them; that we have stipulatedfor all the advantages they could desire; and that France, in giving them up, has insured to them the greatest of all. They could never have prospered under any European government, as they will when they become independent. But while they enjoy the privileges of liberty, let them ever remember that they are French, and preserve for their mother country that affection, which a common origin inspires."

This purchase was an immense acquisition to the United States. "I consider," said Mr. Livingston, "that from this day, the United States take rank with the first powers of Europe, and now she has entirely escaped from the power of England."

Napoleon was also well pleased with the transaction, "By this cession," he said, "I have secured the power of the United States, and given to England a maritime rival, who, at some future time, will humble her pride."

The boundaries of this unexampled purchase could not be clearly defined. There was not any known landmarks to which reference could be made. The United States thus had the sole claim to the vast territory west of the Mississippi, extending on the north through Oregon to the Pacific Ocean, and on the south to the Mexican dominions. From the day of the transfer, the natural resources of the great valley of the Mississippi began to be rapidly developed.

The accompanying map will enable the reader more fully to understand the geography of the above narrative.