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One of the first measures of Salcedo's administration, as he informs his government, was directed to check what he thought the dangerous designs of the Americans, who as neighbors he considered very unsafe. He, therefore, reported that he had sent up to Natchitoches all that was necessary to arm and equip the militia of that district, with the view of counteracting the projects of the American bandit, Philip Nolan, who had introduced himself into the interior provinces of New Spain with thirty-six armed men.
In the meantime Nolan started on his expedition. The account of it is preserved in the narrative of one of his company, Ellis Bean, who, when a boy of seventeen lived in Natchez, whom Nolan engaged to go with him.
They crossed the Mississippi at Walnut Hills and took a western course for the Washita. About forty miles from the river they met fifty Spaniards sent by the Commandant at Washita to stop them. Though the Americans counted only twenty-one men, the Spaniards were afraid to attack them. Avoiding Washita, the troops passed on, crossing the Washita River and heading for Red River, at the old Caddo town. In six days they reached the Trinity River, and crossing it found big open prairies through which they advanced. For nine days the company was compelled to subsist on the flesh of mustang horses, when they reached the Brazos, where they found wild horses by thousands. Here they built an enclosure and penned about three hundred head, and here they were visited by a party of two hundred Comanche Indians, with their women and children, who invited the Americans to the South Fork of Red River to see their chief. The Americans went and stayed there a month, making friends with four or five tribes who were at peace with the Comanches. They then returned to the camp where they had left their horses, their Indian friends accompanying them and staying with them a few days, when they left to go on a buffalo hunt. But it was found after they left that they had stolen eleven horses. As they were the trained horses used for capturing the wild ones, and the Americans could not get along without them, they determined to pursue the thieves, although this had to be done on foot. Nolan, with Bean and four men and a negro boy named Cæsar, volunteered for this service. In nine days they came upon the Indians in camp, but found there but a few
men with their women and children; the rest of them had gone hunting. Four horses were discovered and taken; the rest were brought in by the hunting party in the evening. The Americans securing them, returned with them to their camp. They were resting and preparing for the capture of more horses when one morning before dawn they were surrounded by a troop of Spaniards sent by the Spanish Governor from Chihuahua, and, guided by Indians. Without speaking a word they commenced firing and after about ten minutes “our gallant leader, Nolan,” was slain by a musket ball which hit him in the head. This was on March 22d, 1801.
After a spirited and skillful fight of the force of twelve against one hundred and fifty Spaniards armed with a swivel gun, which they had brought upon the back of a mule; the Americans beginning to lose their men, responded for a parley, and an agreement was made that both parties, ceasing the fight, should return to Nacogdoches together; the Americans stipulating, however, that they would not surrender as prisoners, but would retain their arms. And so they set out on the march as comrades; the Americans first, however, burying their gallant leader. In a few days they reached Nacogdoches, where the Americans were detained a month waiting for an order from the Governor of Texas at Chihuahua to return to their country. But instead of this order they were put in irons and marched off to San Antonio, where they were kept in prison sixteen months; in short, the Spaniards, keeping to their record established in America for faithlessness and cruelty to their enemies, inflicted upon Bean and his companions for the next ten years the extremist cruelty in the way of imprisonment, starvation and chains. Many of them died, but Bean, by virtue of his youthful strength and courage, was able to match cruelty with endurance and overmatch it with his wit, and thus by a series of the most extraordinary adventures in the way of escapes and recaptures that were ever related reached New Orleans in 1814, and finding the British on the point of attack, volunteered in the American army, joining Captain Maunsell White's company, which was stationed at Bayou St. John.
When the British landed, his company, as we know, was marched to the front, and Jackson, who, Bean says he had known from childhood, stationed him at a 24-pounder in the breastworks, where Bean remained until the British retreated. He subsequently returned to Mexico, where his adventures recommenced and continued. His Memoirs were published in 1816.
The news of Nolan's death must have reached Natchez shortly after the death of his wife.
The scholar, Mr. William Dunbar, writing to Thomas Jefferson, 220 August, 1801, says:
“Mr. Nolan has formerly given me some information of parts of New Mexico; but we have lately been cut off from our usual communications with that country by the imprudence of Mr. Nolan, who persisted in hunting wild horses without a regular permission, the consequence of which has been that a party being sent against him, he was the only man of his company who was killed. I am much concerned for the loss of this man. Although his eccentricities were many and great, he was not destitute of romantic principles of honor united to the highest personal courage with energy of mind, which under guidance of a little more prudence might have conducted him to enterprises of the first magnitude.”
We meet with two of Nolan's company in the report of Captain Zebulon Pike's expedition to the sources of the Mississippi, 1807. Intercepted and detained in Santa Fé, Pike writes that he there met two white men who had been taken prisoners, still living there. And he writes :
“The diary of Nolan and many of his letters, which are in my possession, show conclusively that he was not only a gallant gentleman, but an accomplished scholar. He was thoroughly acquainted with astronomy and geography. He made the first map of Texas, which he presented to the Baron de Carondelet on his return from his first trip to Texas in 1797."
At a later period, Jan. 2d, 1808, Andrew Ellicott wrote to Wilkinson:
“I do not recollect to have ever received a hint that the late P. Nolan was concerned in any plans or intrigues injurious to the United States. On the contrary, in all our private and confidential communications he appeared strongly attached to the interests and welfare of our country.”
MEETING OF DECEMBER, 1917. The regular monthly meeting of the Louisiana Historical Society took place on Tuesday evening, December 18th, in the Cabildo, at the usual hour. The attendance of members was not large, but the President and most of the officers were present.
After the reading of the minutes the following members were added to the Society:
Miss Delphine Points, 930 Elysian Fields Street.
Mrs. Marie Mioton, 1219 North Rampart Street. A letter was read from Mr. Isaac C. Sutton, of Philadelphia, telling of two old miniatures of Wm. E. Hulings, M. D., and wife, bearing the date of 1789. Dr. Hulings was at that time Consul from the United States to New Orleans. The miniatures belonged to an old lady who wanted to sell them. There was no answer to the letter.
Vr. Cusachs then introduced the subject of the paper written by the Rev. Clarence Bish pam, entitled “The Contest for Ecclesiastical Supremacy in the Mississippi Valley.'
Miss Grace King stated that she had read the paper and heartily admired the spirit in which it was written, and valued its historical importance.
Mr. William Beer, who had also read the paper, endorsed it in warm terms of praise.
Miss King offered the resolution that Mr. Bishpam be requested to read the paper at the next meeting of the Society.
lir. Beer seconded the resolution. It was passed unanimously and cordially.
Mr. W. 0. Hart read the paper of the evening, “The History of the Protestant Church in Louisiana,”' a compilation of interesting facts and details, which was listened to with attention. At the close of his paper Jr. Hart read a contribution from Mr. Waldo, a printed leaflet, on the “Unitarian Church in New Orleans," which gave many interesting and pleasant reminiscences of the brilliant preacher and writer, the Rev. Theodore Clapp, who passed from Presbyterianism to Unitarianism in this city.
Mr. Kent, of the Unitarian Church, made a few appropriate remarks. Mr. Dymond contributed also to the discussion.
The Society adjourned to meet in January.
SOME OBSERVATIONS REGARDING THE CARNIVAL.
(Read by Mr. W. 0. Hart.) (Times-Picayune, Monday, January 28, 1918.) Mardi is only three weeks off. Usually at this time of the year New Orleans is well advanced in the gaieties of the Carnival and with balls and entertainments of various kinds following each other in rapid succession ; indeed, they have sometimes come so fast that it has been a difficult matter to prevent conflicts of dates. So changed are conditions to-day and so fully is the public mind turned in other directions that it is doubtful whether one in a hundred Orleanians realize that Mardi Gras, the greatest holiday in this city and section, fully recognized and authorized by the law, falls on February 12.
A year ago the celebration had been looked forward to as likely to be one of the grandest of New Orleans' Carnivals. The city celebrates this year the second century of its existence, and it so happened that the centennial falls during the Carnival. The city had invited and arranged to entertain distinguished visitors from all parts of this continent and Europe, and our holiday was to have assumed an international importance, chronicling the restoration of the bonds of union and affection that bind New Orleans with France and Canada, whence came the men who two centuries laid the foundation of this metropolis at the mouth of the world's greatest river.
The war, however, has changed all this, as it has changed many other conditions. New Orleans was one of the first cities to make the sacrifice. It recognized that it was not right nor patriotic to devote itself to mere pleasures and frivolities when the country was in danger, when the whole world is suffering and our own people were victims of a bloody and brutal war. The prompt action of New Orleans in decreeing the suspension of the Carnival showed how thoroughly it can be counted on to do whatever it should do to concentrate its efforts to win the war.
It was suggested by many that some of the features of the day which has been celebrated here for nearly two centuries might be preserved; that some of the incidents of our bicentennial might be given; that one day might be set aside for general masking, with balls cut out. But all of these promises will have been “cut out”' and Mardi Gras will be suspended from