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with respect to many savage tribes, some of which lately inhabited the place where he resides and where their vestiges are still perceptible; the extensive communication with remote parts presented by the Mississippi and concourse of Indians and traders, have given him many opportunities of making observations which may not have presented themselves to others, and may not probably occur in future. To these may be added those he has made on the country itself, its population, manners, customs of the inhabitants, the different changes in their government for the last forty years, the climate, soil and trade, which are but little known abroad; and they will, I hope, appear so important to a person whose reputation is so great as yours as to procure me your indulgence for the liberty I have taken. I have the honor to remain with sentiments of the greatest respect and esteem, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
“DANIEL CLARK, JR.” And in this connection we find in the American State Papers the following testimonial from General Wlkinson to Thomas Jefferson :
"FORT ADAMS, May 22d, 1800. “In the bearer of this letter, Mr. P. Nolan, you will behold the Mexican traveler, a specimen whose discoveries I had the honor to submit to you in the winter of 1707. Mr. Nolan's subsequent excursions have been more exhaustive and his observations more accurate...... An acquaintance of many years, from his youth, authorizes me vouchsafe for Mr. Nolan's probity and recommend him to your kindness.”
But, naturally, Mrs. Minor did not know of all this, the findings many years afterwards of diligent historical researches; but she could tell what the historical searchers never lighted on, for all their diligence, the romance in the life of the hardy adventurer who came to Natchez, as we have seen, armed cap à pié, to conquer love and fortune in that period of conquest of fortune by hardy, brave adventurers. As the little song describes it in four short lines :
“It is an old, old story,
And yet 'tis always new;
There breaks a heart in two." As it comes down to us in family tradition, Nolan going into the highest official and business circles found also the doors of society flung open before him; even the reserved, conservative society of Natchez; and thus he met and fell in love with the
official and we him; even cand fell in 1
i and business Cuen the reserved, con with the
beautiful and charming daughter of William Lintot, Fannie Lintot, whose sister was married to Don Estevan Minor, the most prominent as well as the richest citizen of the place, and the most important man in the colony after Gayoso de Lemos. It was not surprising that Nolan should fall in love with her; many, in fact, all the young men of Natchez fell in love with her; for she was the recognized belle of Natchez, and to be a belle is to be sought after by the beaux. But she, whose heart had been so cold and inaccessible to others, fell also in love with Nolan. In that day of romance this meant more than it does to-day, the day of common sense.
Her family opposed her choice, very naturally. The daughter of Lintot and sister of the austere and haughty Stephen Minor to marry the protégé of Wilkinson, already under suspicion of disloyalty, and a horse trader to boot (for thus did Nolan's business appear to them in its naked truth). The thing was impossible! as Nolan was told without circumlocution when he made his demand of Lintot, the father; and Nolan, not to be outdone in presenting the naked truth, asked sneeringly: “How many Texas ponies Lintot wanted for his daughter?” The rupture was complete between all but the two most vitally concerned.
If love be said to laugh at locksmiths, it is because the woman laughs at them. And, Fannie Lintot not only flouted parental objections, but soon made it apparent to all Natchez that she laughed at any family interference with the choice of her heart. Instead of obeying the parental decree, she and Nolan saw one another as often as they chose; and although her own home was closed to him, every friend's house in Natchez was open, and they were showered with opportunities for meeting. The flouted family were beaten out, and for fear of the disgrace of an elopement, consented to the union they could not prevent; and the two lovers were made happy by the only proper ending for the course of true love. One little note from Nolan remains attached to the old, old story:
“My Dearest Friend:
“I intended to visit you yesterday, but your father did not give me the most distant invitation. I lament that love and friendship should suffer so much through his caprice, prudence
or pride. Perhaps I will see you here to-day at the hill. I will never have that pleasure uninvited. I need not tell you I feel much disappointed, my heart is heavy; but I have the appearance of movement. As usual,
“PHILIP Nolan.” The marriage must have taken place late in 1799, for we have the following letter from Daniel Clark congratulating Nolan:
“NEW ORLEANS, 1 Jan., 1800. “I have heard with pleasure of the event which I hope will reclaim you from your wandering way of life and request you will accept of my sincere congratulations on the occasion. The trifies I had sent will not have arrived for the ceremony, but you may be persuaded that with every possible desire to execute your commission I could not succeed in time, owing to the delay of a lady, who, being a better judge than myself, procrastinated till I lost all patience. I expect to hear from you soon. In the meantime entreat you to present my respects and felicitations to Mrs. Nolan.”
"Is it true," he adds, “that you have lost a fourth part of your horses. I flatter myself that the report may be unfounded. Let me know your prospects of sale, and your plan, if you had time to form one."
And later he adds an admonition which may carry suspicion:
“......attend to your business and think not of horse racing; you will lose time and money by it. I am fearful of your going into it, and, therefore, warn you against it. “Yours affectionately,
(“DANIEL CLARK.” From the ardent and impetuous bride there is but one letter; it is not addressed, dated “August, 1800, at Mr. Dunbar's." In it she writes like any ordinary happy wife to one of her family:
“Polly Minor is not going down with Billy, nor have I heard a word about Betsy's intending to be of the party. Billy is arrived and was here this morning, and informed me he would set off for B. R. (?) in early September. As to my going with him, it depends entirely upon whether Mr. Nolan can dispatch his business before that time. I am pretty confident that will not be the case. I, therefore, will not see you until you arrive at Natchez."
On the 22d of August, still at Forest Hill, the Dunbar plantation, is added the following continuation of family news:
“Mr. Nolan went to the swamp, where he keeps his horses, yesterday; he was not well; I am very fearful he has got the fever
again. We were obliged to sell Bob, and Mr. Nolan bought a negro man of the name of Joe. I am sorry to hear that you have got the fever again, the headache, I mean. All our family are well except Kitty Minor the younger, who still has the fever. Mr. Minor has given over going down this summer. Farewell, my dear, remember your
In October following his marriage, Nolan set out on what proved to be lia la...pedition for horses. He may have intended it to fuus. pmost stone on the pinnacle of his fortune, and thus lie may have represented it to his wife and her friends. She bade him goodbye with confident courage; such women are not apprehensive; and when the time elapsed for his return we can imagine her still confident and courageous looking for his return, still sure of him. But he never returned. She never heard of him or his party again, and after a weary, painful six months of waiting her child was born to a broken-hearted mother. For at the last, instead of the truth, the malignant suspicion whispered about, by her family and friends, cast its black shadow upon her. She, the proud and haughty Fannie Lintot, was a deserted, perhaps betrayed wife! And she who could have borne any other misfortune sank under the disgrace of her love. She died, leaving behind her the story of her trag. edy and her infant son, who, it would seem, died also from the blight that fell upon him befre he was born. A moral and phys. ical weakling, he was cared for by his mother's family until he was twenty-one, when he died of consumption and was buried beside his mother in Natchez, the last sad relic of two heroic souls.
The narrative, as related by Mrs. Minor to Wr. Hale, must have ended here. It was to account for the complete disappearance of Philip Nolan and the mysterious silence that enveloped his fate that Hale invented the fiction connecting him with the Burr conspiracy (an episode beginning several years later), or perhaps this may have been suggested as a family suspicion, an after infection of the great epidemic of suspicion, of disloyalty and treasonable connection with Burr, that raged throughout the South for many years afterwards with fatal effect to many a fair reputation in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The sequel of the story is told by the historians of Texas, and we know that the poor wife died for want of knowing what in her pride and love she would have given her life to know.
It is the same old story as old as the story of true love and broken hearts, and conveyed in the homely proverb about the pitcher that goes to the well, it passes on generation after generation.
Having engaged a larger company of men than usual and making his arrangements as carefully as of yore, notably in gaining friends among the Spanish authorities in Texas, Nolan had every reason to count upon his usual success, such a success as in 1798, for instance, when he brought back a fine cavalcade of 1,200 horses. He made greater preparations than ever before and started with a following of twenty men, taking for granted that as usual he could break through any snares and be superior to any mischance that he could not foresee. And, too, with all Americans he despised the Spaniards too much to credit them with the forceful sagacity in working out their own designs that they really possessed. Gayoso de Lemos, who had been transferred to New Orleans, succeeding, as he had aspired to do, Carondelet, as Governor of Louisiana, was dead. Stephen Minor had replaced him for a time as commandant of the Natchez district, but had resigned from a Spanish official position to follow his State into the Union and had become again an American citizen. Don José Maria Vidal succeeded him as commandant, and eventually became Consul in the Natchez district. He presumably was a friend of Nolan's and knew, and could not help knowing, the truth about his plans; that now, at least, they were purely money-making. Nevertheless, actuated by a personal spite or public zeal, when the expedition was about starting he entered a complaint against Nolan before Governor Sargent, the American Governor of Mississippi, and Judge Bruin, the judge of the Superior Court, asking that he and his expedition be arrested and detained. Nolan, brought before these high authorities, exhibited his passports and papers and was allowed to proceed. Vidal, however, not to be balked in his design, sent an express to the Spanish Commandant at Washita to stop Nolan. That snare, as we shall see, was easily avoided; not so the other one set by Salcedo, the new Governor of Louisiana, vice Casacalvo, who had ad interim replaced Gayoso.