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journey and a prompt return, reiterating to you with the greatest sincerity, the affection I feel for you. “Your truly affectionate Q. B. S. M.,
“MANUAL GAYOSO DE LEMOS." From the original in the Minor archives.
The following month, May, 1797, Gayoso writes to Nolan, this time in English:
“With pleasure I received your favor of the 22nd ultimo. Am very glad of the additional good prospect that offers for your future campaign, as I do not doubt but the new recommendations will be productive of the best effects.
“I am very much fattered with the good wishes of my friends in New Orleans. If the appointment takes place it shall be my particular study to make them as happy as it may be in my power......? “Your most humble affectionate servant,
“MANUAL GAYOSO DE LEMOS.” (Copied from the original in Vinor archives.)
The congratulations refer to the partnership recently made between Nolan and John Murdock, a citizen of Natchez, according to the following articles of agreement:
“The parties have agreed to enter into copartnership in Trade, and until a more particular Agreement shall be framed, the present is considered sufficiently binding and valid in law.
“The Capital to be employed shall not exceed ten thousand dollars. The Capital shall consist either of Cash in ready money, Goods at their Cost, Debts due from each Partner to the other, or such property as may be mutually agreed on.
“The said Murdock is to furnish two thousand four hundred dollars, on which he is to have one-third of the Profit (that is, one-third of the neat profit on his own Capital), and this seemIngly unequal Co-Partnership he enters into in consideration that said Nolan should instruct him in the purchase and conveyance of Ilorses, etc., from San Antonio and elsewhere to this place, introduce him to the Commander and others, and form an equal Co-partnership in any future adventure.
“The said Nolan will furnish Seven Thousand Dollars, or more if possible.
“The whole capital without discrimination shall be employed in the purchase of Horses, etc. The difference between the neat proceeds and the original Capital is the profit, which shall be divided as follows:
“In witness of the Foregoing Agreement, the parties have subscribed their names at Natchez, the Second day of April, One thousand seven hundred and ninety Seven, to two agreements of the same Tenor and date.
(Signed) “PHILIP NOLAN,
“J. MURDOCK.” (Original in the Minor papers.)
There is also in the Minor archives an interesting document, an almost indecipherable fragment, recording that Philip Nolan and W. Lintot, “having in contemplation to make an experiment on the practicability of navigating against the current of the Mississippi with a horseboat, sought the exclusive privilege for the same for fifteen to twenty years, from the government, in order that they may have a hope of being compensated for their labor and loss of time and expense, that will attend the execution of the experiment." Signed P. N. and W. L., 27th Ap., 1800.
As Natchitoches was the gateway from Louisiana to Texas, and Natchez on the direct road to Natchitoches, the substitution of that place to New Orleans as a business headquarters was dictated by business reasons, and evidently Nolan, after his partnership, intended establishing himself there permanently. His next letter to Wilkinson was from Natchez, written a few months later and just before setting out on another expedition.
“July 21st, 1797. “The Baron has given me every credential, and in my passport he says it is important to the Royal Service that I meet no embarrassment. I shall return to this place in December, pass the winter here and proceed to Kentucky in the spring. Gayoso is at length appointed Governor General and will leave this place for New Orleans in a few days. Grandpré is appointed Governor of Natchez by the King. “Blue Eye' (reference is impossible of verification) has no doubt made you acquainted with Gayoso. He is a vile man and my implacable enemy, yet he treats me with attention. During the commotions here he wrote to the Baron requesting that he would not permit me to leave New Orleans. “He will take an active part against us; he is popular and enterprising; secure him.' Under the same cover he subscribed himself my friend, and but a few days before made me a present of a sextant.
“The Baron knows him, and has done all in his power to secure me from his vengeance. I have, however, my fears, and I may yet be obliged to shoot the monster with a poisoned arrow."
(From General Wilkinson's Memoirs, Volume 11.)
On his return from this expedition, Nolan learned that his distrust of Gayoso was justified. Clark, in New Orleans, who remained a good friend of Nolan's, notwithstanding his rancor against Wilkinson, learned through confidential relations with the Spanish officials that Gayoso had written to the Governor of Mexico to watch Nolan and all foreigners going to Mexico to foment troubles with the Indians, adding most treacherously the poisonous venom of a Spanish mind, that Nolan was a hypocrite and sacriligious, pretending to be a Catholic among Spaniards, but laughing at them when among Americans; that he had been raised and educated by Wilkinson, who had commended him to reconnoitre the country and make friendly offers to the Indians to induce them to rebel against the Spanish government. The thing, as Clark says, would have been effected to Gayoso's wish, and Nolan might, probably, have been confined for life on suspicion, but fortunately the Governor of Texas died a few days before the letter reached San Antonio, the capital of his government, and the Governor pro tempore refrained from opening the letters directed to the late Governor, and during the interval Nolan was treated as usual and only learned of the circumstance when preparing to go to the frontier again to bring in a small drove of horses still remaining there.
Here the narrative must take in the following interesting letters, found by historical researches in the voluminous records of the American State Papers. The first is from Thomas Jefferson to Philip Nolan, Philadelphia, June 2nd, 1798. (Concerning Philip Nolan. (Historical Association Quarterly, page 308):
“SIR-It was some time since I have understood that there are large herds of horses in a wild state in the country west of the Mississippi, and have been desirous of obtaining details of their history in that State. Mr. Brown, Senator from Kentucky, informs me it would be in your power to give me interesting information on the subject, and encourages me to ask it. The circumstances of the Old World have, beyond its records of history, been such as admitted not that animal to exist in a state of nature, the condition of America is rapidly advancing to the same. The present then is probably the only moment in the age of the world, and the herds above mentioned, the only subjects of which we can avail ourselves to obtain what has never yet been recorded and never can be again in all probability. I will add that your information is the sole reliance as far as I can at present see, for obtaining this desideratum. You will render to natural history, therefore, a very acceptable service if you will enable our Phil. Soc. to add so interesting a chapter to the history of the animal. I need not specify to you the particular facts asked for, as your knowledge of the animal in his domesticated, as well as his wild state, will naturally have led your attention to those particulars in manners, habits and laws of his existence, which are peculiar to his wild state. I wish you not to be anxious about the form of your information; the exactness of the substance alone is material; and after giving me in a first letter all the facts you possess, you could be so good in subsequent occasions to furnish such others, in addition, as you may acquire from time to time. Your communications will always be thankfully received. If addressed to me at Monticello and put into any postoffice of
and will be considered as obligations. As ever,
“THOMAS JEFFERSON.” Answered by Daniel Clark:
To Thomas Jefferson, Esq.:
Sir-You will pardon the liberty I take in addressing you when I inform you that your letter of the 24th of June, last year, directed to Mr. Philip Nolan (with whom for many years I have been connected in the strictest friendship) has, in his absence, come into my possession. That extraordinary and enterprising man is now, and has been for some years past, employed in the countries bordering on the kingdom of New Mexico, either in catching or pursuing horses, and is looked for on the banks of the Mississippi at the fall of the waters with a thousand head, which he will in all probability drive into the United States. Having direction from him to peruse all letters addressed to him
expression contained in them should awaken the jealousy of the suspicious people among whom he has by a coincidence of fortunate circumstances introduced himself. I have by this means acquired a knowledge of the object of your researches, and shall feel particular pleasure in affording my mite of assistance to forward your letter in safety to him. You judge right in supposing him to be the only person capable of fulfilling your views; as no person possessed of his talents has ever visited that country to unite information with projects of utility. Shortly after his return, but not before on account of the impossibility of applying himself during his travels with that attention he could wish to the subject, I will be responsible for his giving you every information he has collected, and it will require all the good opinion you may have been led to entertain of his veracity not to have
your belief staggered with the accounts you may receive of the numbers and habits of the horses of that country and the people who live in that neighborhood, whose customs and ideas are as different from ours as those of the horses of Grand Tartary. Did it not interfere with your other occupations, I would presume to request you would point out particular subjects on which my friend should enlarge, as some which would be probably interesting to you might be overlooked or seem too trivial to him to notice from having come so often under his observation. In tiis case, your letter addressed to the care of Mr. Tire, of Philadelphia, to be forwarded to me will shortly ş hands; and I take the liberty of referring you to knowledge of my character that you may not be un prehension concerning the person to whom you wrote. well Ellicott, the Commissioner on the part of the United States, for running the line of demarcation with Spain, being now visitor in my house and having at his arrival in this country been acquainted with Nolan, who gave him considerable information on the subject in question, I have hinted to him your wish of acquiring some knowledge and he will doubtless consider himself happy in contributing as far as lies in his power to this end until Nolan himself can have an opportunity of giving you perfect satisfaction. In the meantime I must suggest to you the necessity of keeping to yourself for the present all the information that may be forwarded to you, as the slightest hint would point out the channel from whence it flowed and might probably be attended with the most fatal consequences to a man who will at all times have it in his power to render important services to the United States, and whom nature seems to have formed for enterprises which would deprive the world of this extraordinary character. His papers, which are confided to me and a mutual friend now in the Spanish service, shall be carefully examined, and everything relating to that country shall be forwarded to you with such other remarks as both of us from our own knowledge and information have acquired. The desire I have that you should be possessed of every information and the certainty that the philosopher and politician will excuse the freedom of the persons interesting themselves in procuring such as may be useful, emboldens me to mention Mr. William Dunbar, a citizen of Natchez, in the Mississippi Territory, as a person worthy of being consulted by you on subjects relating to this country, its productions or any philosophical questions connected with them. He was for some time employed by the Spanish Government as their astronomer, on the line of demarcation, but has retired to his estate, and for science, probity and general information is the first character in this part of the world. His long residence in this country, still little known to men of letters, its situation