Imatges de pàgina

the future, all doubts respecting other families, or new colonists who may come to establish themselves, we destine and appropriate, conclusively, for the establishment of the aforesaid Marquis de Maison Rouge, by virtue of the powers granted to us by the King, the thirty superficial leagues marked in the plan annexed to the head of this instrument, with the limits and boun daries designated, with our approbation, by the Surveyor General, Don Charles Laveau Trudeau, under the terms and conditions stipulated and contracted for by the said Marquis de Maison Rouge; and that it may, at all times, stand good, we give the present, signed with our hand, sealed with our seal at arms, and countersigned by the underwritten honorary Commissary of War, and Secretary of his Majesty for this commandancy General. The BARON DE CARONDELET.


New Orleans, 20th June, 1797.

On the 5th August, 1803, Don Gilbert Leonard, and Don Manuel Gonzales Armirez, Spanish officers, certified that the condition of the contract had been complied with.

No. 2.

Don Gilbert Leonard, Treasurer of the army, exercising the functions of the Royal accountant, and Don Manuel Gonzales Armirez, exercising those of the Treasurer, par interim, of the royal chests of this province of Louisiana:

We certify that the two foregoing copies are conformable to the originals which remain in the archives of the ministry of the royal domains under our charge, and that the contractor, the Marquis de Maison Rouge, complied punctually with the terms which he proposed in the said contract; and that this may be made manifest, conformably to the order above inserted of this Intendancy General, we give the present in New Orleans, the 5th of August, 1803. GILBERT LEONARD, MANUEL ARMIREZ.

Upon this evidence, the Land Commissioners, acting under the act of Congress of the 3d March, 1807, by their report, placed this claim amongst a class of cases recommended for confirmation.

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No. 16.

The undersigned commissioners have compared the documents, title filed in this claim, with the translation of them, in pages 67, 68, and.69, of the appendix to the book, entitled "Land Laws, &c." and find the said translation to be correct, so far as it goes. The certificate, or proces verbal, which the Surveyor General has annexed to his plat, not appearing in said book, a translation of that document, together with a copy of the plat, is transmitted for the further elucidation of the claim. No oral or other testimony has been adduced before the Board, to establish the occupancy of any part of these lands, or that there has been a compliance upon the part of the grantee with the conditions stipulated in the contract, except the certificate under date of 5th August, 1803, signed by Gilbert Leonard and Manuel Armirez, to the translation of which, in page 69 of the appendix of said book, the commissioners beg leave to refer.

The undersigned have observed a remark in the 25th page of the introductory part of the book, entitled "Land Laws," that no patent has issued on the claim under consideration. With great deference for that authority, the undersigned commissioners cannot but be of opinion, that the instrument, under date of the 20th June, 1797, is a patent, (or what was usually, in Louisiana, denominated a title in form) transferring to the Marquis de Maison Rouge the title, in as full and ample a manner as lands were usually granted by the Spanish Government, subject, however, to the conditions stipulated in his contract with the Government. The plat of survey above referred to, will be found subjoined to this report.

All claims which did not exceed a league square, were confirmed by act of Congress, of 29th April, 1816, and this being for a greater number of acres than are contained in a league square, was excluded from confirmation by said act, and is now presented for confirmation or rejection by Congress. The confirmation of this claim is resisted by the Government of the United States, upon several grounds, amongst which are the following:

1st. That the documents relied upon to establish the claim of the representatives of the Marquis de Maison Rouge to the thirty superficial leagues claimed, show, that no contract, or grant, has ever been made to the Marquis de Maison Rouge, in his own individual right, and that it was only a contract with him, as agent of the persons he was to bring with him, by which the Spanish Government bound itself to grant to each person, according to the conditions of the contract, a certain number of acres of land, and that de Maison Rouge did not acquire, by said contract, a right to dispose of said land by sale, deed, or last will and testament, or in other way.


2dly. That the conditions of said contract were never fulfilled by the said Marquis de Maison Rouge.

3dly. That the said land never was surveyed, as certified under the Spanish Government; and, if it were, that it was not done with a view to vest the Marquis de Maison Rouge with any right, individually, but for the sole purpose of designating a certain number of acres of land, upon which the new settlers might establish themselves as they came in; and out of which the promised grants of 400 arpents each, were to be made to each family, containing two white persons, according to the 4th condition in said contract, and that said families not having settled the land as agreed, it remains as public land.

4thly. That the said land never was intended, nor never was located, as pretended by the representatives of de Maison Rouge, but was at a different place.

In support of these objections, and of others, to the confirmation of this claim, a reference has been made to the documents aforesaid, and to the depositions of sundry old inhabitants of Lousiana, and of Spanish officers, which were taken by proper authority, after due notice given, and which estimony is marked W, and accompanies this report; also, to the certificate of Carlos Trudeau, translated by L. Derbigny, on the 17th April, 1804.


I, Don Carlos Trudeau, Surveyor royal and particular of the province of Louisiana, &c. do certify, that the present draft contains 144 superficial leagues, each league forming a square, the sides of which are in length 2,500 toises (a toise is six French feet long,) measure of the city of Paris, according to the custom and practice of this colony, the said land being situate in the post of Ouachita, about 80 leagues above the mouth of that river, falling into Red river, adjoining on the part of the S. W. to the Eastern shore of the river and bayou Ouachita, Bartelemy, and Sicard, conformable to the red line which borders the said river and bayous; bounded on the South part, by a line drawn from the South, 75° East, about three leagues and one mile long: beginning from the shore C, of the Bayou Sicard, and continuing as far as the height of the junction A of the said Bayou Sicard, with the Bayou Bartelemy, the said point A being as a basis on the line of measurement A B of 12 leagues in length, parallel with the plane of Bayou Bartelemy, from the point A to the end of the said 12 leagues, which terminates at point B, where is the mouth of the rivulet named Bayou Turniro; the lines D E and F G, are parallel lines directed North 52 degrees East, without minding the variation of the compass, which varies eight degrees to the Northeast. In testimony, I deliver the present certificate, with the draft hereto affixed, for the use of the Baron de Bastrop, on the 14th day of June, 1797. I, the Surveyor, having signed the same, and recorded in the book A, No 1, folio 38, department No. 922 of the surveys. I do certify the present copies to be conformable to the original, which are lodged in the office under my care, to which I refer, and, at the request of a party, I deliver the present, same date as above.


I certify the above to be a true and faithful translation of the original certificate of survey written in the Spanish language, and to which is prefixed the plat of the land therein mentioned.

New Orleans, 17th April, 1804.

L. DERBIGNY, Interpreter to the Government.

From a careful examination of the foregoing documents and testimony, the committee are of the opinion, that the decision, in the present claim, depends entirely upon a question of law as to the title, and upon the examination of witnesses as to several important points to be ascertained; and that an investigation of the claim by Congress, would not only be attended with

great delay, but with so many difficulties, that justice as well to the parties interested, as to the Government of the United States, requires a reference of the decision of this claim to the United States' Court, for the Western District of Louisiana, with an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States; and, for that purpose, report a bill.

FEBRUARY 11, 1825.

The select committee to which was referred, upon the day of December, 1824, the petitions of inhabitants of Ouachita, in the State of Louisiana, and the owners of the land called "Bastrop's Grant," in said county of Ouachita, having had the same under consideration, together with the accompanying documents, report:

That, from the documents furnished, and from the title papers as published in the land laws of the United States, (of the authenticity of which they are unable to form any opinion) it appears a petition was addressed to the Governor General of Louisiana, by De Bastrop, upon the 20th June, 1795, of which the following is a copy:

To the Governor General:

The Baron de Bastrop, desirous of encouraging the population and cultivation of the Ouachita and its neighborhood, of passing into the United States to complete the plan of emigration which he has projected, and from thence to return with his family, makes known to your Lordship, that it is absolutely indispensable, on the part of the Government, that a district be designated, of about twelve leagues square, including the Bayou Liar, and its vicinity, in which your petitioner may, without the least obstacle or delay, place the families he is about to bring in, on the express condition, that concessions of land are to be made gratis; and under no title or pretext to exceed, at most, four hundred arpents square, with a view to prevent the introduction of negroes, and the making of indigo, which, in that district, will be entirely contrary and prejudicial to the cultivation of wheat, and will cause your petitioner irrecoverably to lose the expenses of his establishment. Your petitioner prays, also, that you will be pleased to grant him permission to export, for the Havana the flour which may be manufactured at the mills on the Ouachita, without confining him to sell it absolutely in New Orleans, and other posts in this province, unless it should be necessary for their subsistence, in which case they ought always to have the preference. It is also indispensable, that the Government should charge itself with theconducting and support of the families which the petitioner may introduce from the post of New Madrid to Ouachita, by furnishing them with some provisions for the subsistence of the first months, and assisting them to commence the sowing of their seeds; granting to those inhabitants who are not Catholics, the same liberty of conscience as is enjoyed by those of Baton Rouge, Natchez, and other districts of the province, and without fixing, on the part of the Government, conclusively, the number of families which your petitioner is to introduce. The zeal which I feel for the prosperity and encouragement of the province, joined to a desire of securing tranquil

lity and quietude to that establishment, by removing, at once, whatever obstacles might be opposed to those interesting objects, have induced me to represent to you what I have here done, hoping that you will recognise in these dispositions, the best service of the King, and the advancement of the province confided to your authority.


New Orleans, June 20, 1795.

Upon the 21st June, 1795, an order was given upon said petition, of which the following is a copy:

NEW ORLEANS, June 21, 1795.

Seeing the advantages which will result from the establishment projected by Baron Bastrop, the commandant of Ouachita, Don John Fathiol, will designate twelve leagues square, half on the side of the Bayou of Liar, and half on the side opposite the Ouachita, for the purpose of placing there the families which the said Baron may direct, it being understood that no greater concession of land is to be given to any one, than four hundred square arpents at most, gratis, and free from all dues. With regard to the object of this establishment, it is to be for the cultivation of wheat alone. The exportation of the product of this province being free, the petitioner need not doubt that it will be allowed to him, for the flour which he may manufacture at the mills of the Ouachita, to the Havana, and other places open to the free commerce of this province. The Government will charge itself with the conducting of the families from New Madrid to Ouachita, and will give them such provisions as may appear sufficient for their support during six months, and proportionably for their seeds. They shall not be molested in matters of religion, but the apostolical Roman Catholic worship shall alone be publicly permitted. The petitioner shall be allowed to bring in as many as five hundred families: Provided, That, after the lapse of three years, if the major part of the establishment shall not have been made good, the twelve leagues square, destined for those whom the petitioner may place there, shall be occupied by the families which may first present themselves for that purpose.



Upon the 20th June, 1796, a decree was given by the same Governor General, as follows:

The Baron de Carondelet, Chevalier of the religion of St. John, Marshal de Camp of the royal armies, Governor General, Vice-patron of the provin ces of Louisiana, West Florida, and Inspector of the troops, &c.

Whereas Baron Bastrop, in pursuance of his petition, dated the 20th of June, of the year last past, and the decree of the 21st of the same month, has commenced the establishment of the Ouachita; that, for the fulfilment of the stipulation on the part of the Government, for avoiding, progressively, all obstacles, difficulties, and delays; and that the said Baron might proceed with every facility in fixing the families, which, to the number of five hundred, he was held to place, or cause to be placed there, we have proceeded to designate the twelve leagues intended for the said establishment, in the terms, with the limits, metes, and bounds; and in place marked, fixed,


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