The present state of the European settlements on the Mississippi

Material Information

The present state of the European settlements on the Mississippi
Series Title:
Bicentennial Floridiana facsimile series
Pittman, Philip
Rea, Robert Right, 1922- ( Introduction, Index )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida Press
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
Physical Description:
lii, viii, 99, 5 p. : maps. ; 27 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Europeanen ( gtt )
Kolonisten ( gtt )
Description and travel -- Mississippi River ( lcsh )
History -- Mississippi River Valley -- To 1803 ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
A facsimile reproduction of the 1770 edition
Statement of Responsibility:
A facsimile reproduction of the 1770 ed., with introd. and index by Robert R. Rea.

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University of Florida
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University Press of Florida
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Copyright 1973 by the Board of Regents of the State of Florida. This work is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit You are free to electronically copy, distribute, and transmit this work if you attribute authorship. However, all printing rights are reserved by the University Press of Florida ( Please contact UPF for information about how to obtain copies of the work for print distribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the University Press of Florida. Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author's moral rights.
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0813003687 ( ISBN )

Full Text






M I S S I S I P P I.







M I S S I S I P P I;





Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Pittman, Philip.
The present state of the European settlements on the

(Bicentennial Floridiana facsimile series)
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Mississippi River-Description and travel.
2. Mississippi Valley-History-To 1803. I. Rea,
Robert R. II. Title. III. Series.
F352.P68 1770a 917.7'04'1 73-2821
ISBN 0-8130-0368-7

1. ).. ,

published under the sponsorship of the
SAMUEL PROCTOR, General Editor.





Governor Reubin O'D. Askew, Honorary Chairman
Lieutenant Governor Tom Adams, Chairman
Pat Dodson, Vice Chairman
N. E. (Bill) Miller, Executive Director

George I. Baumgartner, North Miami Beach
Floyd T. Christian, Tallahassee
Johnnie Ruth Clarke, St. Petersburg
A. H. Craig, St. Augustine
Henry Dartigalongue, Jacksonville
Jack D. Gordon, Miami Beach
Warren S. Henderson, Sarasota
Richard S. Hodes, Tampa
Joe Lang Kershaw, Miami
Ney C. Landrum, Tallahassee
Mrs. E. D. Pearce, Miami
Charles E. Perry, Miami
W. E. Potter, Lake Buena Vista
Samuel Proctor, Gainesville
Ted Randell, Fort Myers
F. Blair Reeves, Gainesville
Bob Saunders, Gainesville
George E. Saunders, Winter Park
Don Shoemaker, Miami
Harold W. Stayman, Jr., Tampa
Richard Stone, Tallahassee
Alan Trask, Fort Meade
W. Robert Williams, Tallahassee
Lori Wilson, Merritt Island
Sherman S. Winn, Bal Harbour


WHEN THE BRITISH arrived in West Florida in 1763, they were
faced with many problems that called for immediate solutions.
France and Spain had ceded all their lands east of the Mississippi, except
for New Orleans, but for the most part the lands were a vast and un-
charted wilderness. The few available maps and charts were little more
than rude sketches, and there was no accurate knowledge of either the
land or its people. The great Indian uprising led by Pontiac in 1763 threat-
ened to break Britain's tenuous hold on the area, and pointed up the need
for establishing a safe route from the Gulf of Mexico to the Illinois coun-
Lieutenant Philip Pittman, author of The Present State of the Euro-
pean Settlements on the Missisippi, one of the earliest and most impor-
tant accounts of West Florida, was a member of the command of
Lieutenant Colonel James Robertson, Fifteenth Regiment of Foot, which
was ordered from New York on a reconnaissance of the French fortifica-
tions along the gulf coast. Little is known of Pittman's early life, but that
is hardly important; he was one of the many intrepid young men who
came to eighteenth-century America and who, because of their activities
on this continent, left their imprint on the history of the times.
Landing at St. Augustine in 1763, Pittman inspected the Spanish posts
of Picolata, Mosa, and Matanzas, and he probably drew a plan of St.
Augustine. Then touching briefly at Pensacola, he went on to Mobile.
The major English objective was to move up the Mississippi to Illinois,
to pacify the Indians, and to bring security to the settlements in the
Mississippi Valley. Pittman helped to achieve these imperative goals for
his country. After an exhausting five-month journey, he and his com-
panions had traveled from the gulf to the Illinois country, and it was of
the experiences in West Florida, Louisiana, and along the Mississippi
that Pittman wrote. His reports to General Thomas Gage during the
years 1765 to 1768 comprise the manuscript for The Present State of the
European Settlements on the Missisippi which was published in 1770.
This edition edited by Professor Robert R. Rea is the first "exact reprint"
to appear since its original publication more than two hundred years ago.

When The Present State first appeared, the Critical Review of London
predicted that, at some future time in history, the then barren banks of
the Mississippi would sustain "a mighty empire." This historical judg-
ment, as Professor Rea points out, rings true now as the nation prepares
to commemorate its founding.
The Present State is one of the volumes in the Bicentennial Floridiana
Facsimile Series which the Florida Bicentennial Commission, in coopera-
tion with the University of Florida Press, is publishing to commemorate
the two-hundredth anniversary of the independence of the United States.
Twenty-five rare, out-of-print Florida books will make up the series.
Each will carry an introduction by a noted scholar, and an index.
The Florida Bicentennial Commission, created by the Florida legisla-
ture, consists of twenty-seven members. Governor Reubin Askew serves
as honorary chairman, and Lieutenant Governor Tom Adams is chairman.
Ten members represent the legislature; seven, important state agencies
and boards; and ten members are appointed by the governor. The com-
mission's executive offices are in Tallahassee. A Bicentennial Heritage
Trail, architectural and educational exhibits, and other historical pub-
lications are part of Florida's Bicentennial program.
Professor Robert Right Rea, a native Kansan, is Alumni Professor of
History at Auburn University, where he has been since 1950. He holds a
doctorate from Indiana University. His main areas of interest are
English political history, especially of the eighteenth century, and the
British colonial period in West Florida and Alabama. He is the author
of The English Press in Politics, 1760-1774 and co-author of To Prove a
Villain, The Spanish Armada, and Memoire justificatif of the Chevalier
Montault de Monberaut.
General Editor of the
University of Florida


IN THE YEAR 1770, Philip Pittman turned his back upon America,
the scene of his youthful dreams and exploits, and sailed for India,
another land where the dreams of eighteenth-century Englishmen were
often buried. He left behind a book which claims a place of honor in the
literature of colonial America: the first English description of the Mis-
sissippi Valley and its settlements. With remarkable prescience the Criti-
cal Review observed of Pittman's The Present State of the European
Settlements on the Missisippi, "in a few centuries hence, when those
deserts, through which the Missisippi now runs, are become fully culti-
vated, and the seat of a mighty empire, the work now under our con-
sideration will be accounted a precious and curious relick."1
Cited by modern scholars with greater respect than that with which
it was plagiarized by contemporary writers, this book reflects the per-
sonal observations of a highly competent surveyor and the considered
opinions of a responsible British army officer. Its charts and draughts
delineate with an accuracy unequaled at the time the cities of the Gulf
Coast and the great river which gave them life. A collector's delight in
its original edition, it was reprinted in 1906, with an introduction and
notes by Frank Heywood Hodder.2 The facsimile edition of Pittman's
work makes possible the publication of a typographically perfect text
(for Hodder's is not quite "an exact reprint") and a significantly ex-
panded review of Pittman's career.
As the following pages demonstrate, Philip Pittman and his book can
best be appreciated from the vantage point of British West Florida.
Mobile and Pensacola were the bases from which he viewed Louisiana,
the Mississippi, and the distant Illinois. For the future prosperity of
West Florida he struggled through the swamps and bayous, braved
hostile redskins, endured midwestern winters. From the Gulf Coast he
looked north toward a vast continent and sought to drain its resources,
following the obvious geographic imperative, into British ports and
ships. The westward thrust of frontier America would crush the north-
ward probing British Empire, but Pittman caught a glimpse of the po-

tential that flowed south with the waters of the Ohio, the Missouri,
and the Mississippi river systems to the Gulf of Mexico. He deserves to
be brought back from Illinois once more-and to receive a kinder judg-
ment than was granted him at Pensacola two hundred years ago.
Any study of the British army in North America at this period must
draw its sustenance from the papers of General Thomas Gage, held by
the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
It is always a pleasant obligation to acknowledge the kindness of Howard
H. Peckham, director, and the former and present curators of manu-
scripts, William S. Ewing and John C. Dann. The hospitality of the
Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, made the study of the papers of
Brigadier General Frederick Haldimand a delight, and particular as-
sistance was rendered by D. W. King, chief librarian, Ministry of De-
fence Library, Whitehall.


At the midpoint of the eighteenth century, three European empires
held the North American continent in thrall. Great Britain's colonies
reached back from the Atlantic coast to the Appalachians, and their
burgeoning population threatened to spill over into the great valleys
beyond. Spain held the peninsula of Florida and clung to the Gulf of
Mexico as far as Pensacola. From New Orleans and Mobile, France
dominated the approaches to the vast basin of the Mississippi, and the
Ohio River tributaries linked Louisiana with the Canadian stronghold
in the north. Along the Mississippi a few small villages were strung like
fragile beads from New Orleans to the Illinois where European settle-
ment had yet to challenge the Indians' hegemony. Then came the great
war for empire-the Seven Years or French and Indian War-and all
was changed. British regiments led by Wolfe and Amherst wrested
Canada from the French, and British victories in the Caribbean forced
Spain to sue for peace. In 1763, the Peace of Paris sealed Britain's
triumph in North America. France and Spain ceded all their lands east
of the Mississippi except New Orleans and the mouth of that great
waterway whose course was formally opened to British navigation, and
France gave to Spain New Orleans and all her western claims. French
habitants along the Mississippi, some fiercely loyal to their king, would
come to know a new master at Madrid, though the news was slow to
reach them and the Spaniard even slower to seize his prize. Not until
1766 did Spain assert herself, then only to be expelled by a briefly suc-

cessful revolt at New Orleans. Not until General Alejandro O'Reilly oc-
cupied New Orleans in 1769 was the Spanish standard firmly planted
on the Mississippi.
For Britons newly established at Pensacola and Mobile, the Spanish
delay in occupying New Orleans, the evident distaste of the French for
Spanish rule, and the embarrassing uncertainty of having to approach
the American heartland through foreign territory opened many inter-
esting prospects and raised some awkward problems. The British were
not yet in possession of the Gulf Coast when plans began to emerge
for the development of an alternate route to the Mississippi that would
lie wholly in British hands, a route along the coast, through Lakes Pont-
chartrain and Maurepas, and up the River Iberville.
The need for a sure route north to the Illinois was painfully appar-
ent, for the westward expansion of the British Empire was momentar-
ily blocked in 1763 by a great Indian uprising led by Pontiac which
challenged the European disposition of the interior and all but broke the
British hold upon the West. Pontiac checked the British on the Ohio at
Fort Pitt, but he could be circumvented by moving troops up the Mis-
sissippi to Fort Chartres and establishing British authority at his rear,
thereby eliminating the threat of French encouragement and support
of a more extensive Indian revolt.
The strategic concept was simple enough, formidable though its lo-
gistics proved to be, but Britain had little real knowledge of the interior
of the continent, not even useful maps and charts of her new-won
wilderness. Such knowledge must be had at the earliest moment, and
toward that end General Sir Jeffrey Amherst ordered Lieutenant Colonel
James Robertson of the 15th Regiment of Foot, from headquarters at
New York, to smooth the way to the occupation of the Illinois by troops
assigned to the Gulf Coast and the new province of West Florida. In
the summer of 1763, the 34th Regiment, commanded by Major Robert
Farmar, and the 22d Regiment, under Major Arthur Loftus, were de-
tached from the forces evacuating Havana and directed to Mobile; from
there they were to occupy all the formerly French posts as far north as
the Illinois country. At about the same time, Robertson was preparing
to sail south from New York on his reconnaissance of the ceded posts,
taking with him Lieutenant Philip Pittman, a young officer destined to
spend the next five years traveling and charting the rivers of Britain's
new domain.3
Philip Pittman was probably in his mid-twenties in 1763, a man of
obscure origin but considerable talent for self-advancement. According

to his own later account, he sailed from England in 1758, presumably
having already mastered the surveyor's craft. If young Pittman left
home with the 48th Regiment, he probably saw action in the great Louis-
burg and Quebec expeditions of 1758-59 and participated in the final
subjugation and occupation of Canada. He was gazetted ensign in the
48th Regiment on July 13, 1760, and transferred to the 15th Regiment
on September 14. In 1761, he was working as a surveyor on the St. Law-
rence River and contributed to a series of maps of the area prepared
by order of Brigadier General James Murray, governor of Quebec.4
From the snows of Canada, Pittman and the 15th Regiment were swept
by the winds of war to the torrid Caribbean. According to the regi-
mental history, Pittman served as an assistant engineer in the Martinique-
Havana campaign of 1762, and was promoted to lieutenant on July 28.6
Lieutenant Pittman returned to New York some time after the sur-
render of Havana, for he was there in the summer of 1763 and was
assigned to Robertson, the deputy quartermaster general.
Preparations for the sailing of Robertson's party were well under way
by August. Four small transports would convey the lieutenant colonel,
several other officers, and a much-needed shipment of rations and cash
to the new garrisons in East and West Florida. Pittman, detached from
the 15th Regiment on August 10, was assigned to the brig Hannah with
Robertson, and the little squadron headed south at the end of the month.
Their vessel was "very leaky" and ill-found, but Robertson and Pittman
were off the bar of St. Augustine by September 8 and, after riding out
a storm, succeeded in entering the harbor on September 10. For the next
month Robertson was engaged in the confirmation of British control
over East Florida. Philip Pittman and another officer were sent out to
take plans of the Spanish posts at Picolata, Mosa, and Matanzas, but
they were prevented from securing an extended view of the country
by the threatening attitude of the Indians. Pittman probably drew a
plan of St. Augustine for Robertson and was certainly involved in chart-
ing the dangerous bar and noting landmarks which might enable British
skippers to enter the harbor safely. On October 6 the brig Hannah, her
seams freshly caulked, sailed south, but when the initially favorable
wind shifted, Robertson found it necessary to make for Providence,
Nassau, where he and Pittman lay from October 17 to 22. On November
5 they touched briefly at Pensacola; they went on to reach Mobile on the
ninth and to find Major Robert Farmar involved in the transfer of Fort
Cond6-henceforth to be known as Fort Charlotte-to British sover-
eignty. French officials of Louisiana, led by Governor Jean Jacques

D'Abbadie, welcomed Robertson's mission and the diplomatic tact he
brought to a sticky situation at Mobile. The deputy quartermaster gen-
eral was himself more seriously concerned with implementing plans to
move a British force up the Mississippi. He had hoped to be able to trans-
port troops northward aboard his own sloops, but finding that the ships
could not navigate the river above New Orleans, he hastened to the
French capital to arrange for the purchase of suitable river boats. On
November 15, Robertson and the French military commandant, Charles
Aubry, left for New Orleans.6 When he returned to Mobile, Robertson
designated Philip Pittman to accompany Major Arthur Loftus and the
22d Regiment to Fort Chartres, to chart the river, and to report to army
headquarters, where General Thomas Gage now served as commander-
in-chief, on the state of French forts and settlements. Pittman would
function as an "acting Engineer," although he was not a member of
that very small and elite corps. The lieutenant was still at Mobile on
December 13, 1763; but Robertson had ordered him to New Orleans to
supervise preparations, and as he was in that city about a month before
the arrival of the main body of the British expedition, he must have left
Mobile very shortly thereafter.7


New Orleans was a metropolis compared to Mobile. A pleasant city lying
behind the security of its stockade and levee, its broad parade and
somewhat shabby public buildings were surrounded by well-constructed
and galleried houses built along neatly demarcated streets.8 Governor
D'Abbadie maintained the social and military proprieties of a provincial
capital. But by the end of 1763, New Orleans was suffering from the
virtual isolation imposed by British naval power during the recent war.
Trade was at a standstill, money was short, and food had to be imported
from Mobile, now in British hands. The winter of 1763-64 was severe
in the extreme, cold, wet, and windy, and neither Robertson's diplomacy
nor Pittman's efforts had succeeded in getting "one boat fit to swim nor
anything belonging to them ready" when the 22d Regiment straggled
into New Orleans in the latter part of January 1764.9
Governor D'Abbadie greeted the new arrivals cordially, for he was
sincerely anxious that the English should reach their objective in the
Illinois, pacify the Indians, and bring security to the scattered settle-
ments in the Mississippi Valley. Anticipating trouble, the governor
wished to give his guests no excuse to blame him for difficulties or fail-

ure-and all New Orleans was openly predicting that Loftus would not
reach Fort Chartres. Major Loftus landed in New Orleans on January
23, and the next evening D'Abbadie entertained the British commander
at dinner. As Loftus spoke no French, Philip Pittman, the only officer
on the expedition who knew the language, acted as translator. The after-
dinner conversation was awkward at best: Loftus pressed his need for
help in readying the regiment's boats, and D'Abbadie urged the im-
portance of an early start on what must be a dangerous mission. Such
help as the Frenchman could provide was soon forthcoming, though
Loftus was little appreciative of it or of Pittman's assurance that the
delay was owing to the fact that "the weather was so bad the French
would not work." The lieutenant was no favorite with Loftus; the major
subsequently requested his replacement by an officer who was "much
more knowing in his profession, and has a great deal of Modesty."'0
Finally, on February 27, Loftus turned his little flotilla out into the
current of the Mississippi. Ten heavy batteaux and two canoes or pirogues
carried about 17 officers and their servants, 340 men, and over 50 women
and children. The boats were equipped with masts and lug-sails, but in
reality they were dependent on the backs of twenty-four red-coated oars-
men for propulsion. Although it had been hoped that the troops might
sleep aboard their boats, these unwieldy craft provided no cover except
a tarpaulin which could be stretched across the gunwales. Crowded con-
ditions made it necessary for the expedition to camp on the riverbank
each night.
The ordinary day began at five or six o'clock in the morning and lasted
until seven in the evening, yet Loftus could average no more than three
leagues a day against an unrelenting current and contrary winds. Four
times during the first ten days the British were forced to pull ashore
and anchor because of storms that dismasted boats and drove them
aground in the shallows. It was an onerous duty, and desertion seriously
reduced the expedition's strength."
Slowly Loftus' boats made their way up the Mississippi, passing the
German settlements on February 29, exchanging bread and salt for
fowls at a Houma Indian village on March 4, and, at 2:30 P.M. on March
8, coming to a halt at the Iberville River which marked their passage
from French territory to British West Florida. Here Loftus rested on
the ninth, while Philip Pittman and Captain Lieutenant James Campbell
of the 34th Regiment, another acting engineer, took their first look at a
river channel they would come to know all too well. The Iberville was
Britain's hope for bypassing New Orleans: a small waterway, about


thirty feet broad when Pittman first visited it, which carried off the
floodwaters of the Mississippi, joined the Amite River, and flowed into
Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain. Its upper course was obviously
choked with fallen trees and jammed debris, but at the moment, if it
could be cleared, it carried sufficient water to float a large boat. Pittman
and Campbell surveyed the juncture with the Mississippi and recon-
noitered the banks of the Iberville for a mile or two eastward. Both
agreed that much work was necessary, and Loftus estimated that it
would take two hundred men six months to open the channel.
Resuming its progress on March 10, the 22d Regiment dined at Baton
Rouge the next day, and on the thirteenth came abreast the French fort
at Point Coupee. Here they heard dire warnings of danger ahead and
predictions that the Indians would attack the convoy at the Roche
D'Avion, fifteen leagues north. The morning of March 20 found the
expedition proceeding slowly, single file, along the west side of the nar-
rowing river opposite those threatening heights. The two canoes, com-
manded by Captain Campbell, were scouting ahead of the main force
when, about 7:00 A.M., they received a fusillade from the cane and
brush at the river's edge. Ten of the fifteen men in the canoes were
killed or wounded at the first fire, and Campbell fell back helplessly upon
Loftus' batteaux. The major ordered his boats to the other side of the
channel, but there too he was greeted by upward of a hundred shots, and
as he saw no prospect of advancing, he ordered his boats to retire. It
was impractical to land. The floodwaters of the Mississippi extended
twelve to fourteen yards into the thick woods on either bank; the river
was too narrow to allow the English to avoid the Indians' fire in mid-
stream, even if they could have rowed against the main current,
weakened as they were by sickness and desertion. Loftus' soldiers could
not pull at the oars and wield their muskets at the same time, nor were
the enemy sufficiently visible to warrant the use of the light swivel-guns
which were mounted at the bow of each batteau. It was a completely
frustrating situation. Loftus estimated the Indian warriors at two hun-
dred, enough, he felt, to stop two thousand men in open boats. All the
officers concurred with Loftus' judgment of their plight, and the ex-
pedition turned in precipitate retreat, pursued, though not seriously
harassed, by the triumphant redskins as far as the northernmost plan-
tations of Point Coupee. The fleeing British stopped briefly at the Iber-
ville, where James Campbell suggested they establish themselves (at the
future site of Fort Bute), but Major Loftus rejected the proposal.
Swept onward by the current they had fought for twenty-three days,


the expedition retraced the sixty-five leagues of its advance in a mere
three days. By March 22, Philip Pittman and the 22d Regiment were
back in New Orleans.
The French were not surprised by the attack upon Loftus' boats, but
they were astounded by its success. French convoys had weathered
worse attacks. "A few shots from swivel-guns and small arms would
have overawed the Indians," D'Abbadie remarked. He thought that
Loftus should have run the gantlet at Roche D'Avion, gone on to Natchez,
eighteen leagues to the north, and there parleyed with the savages. But
Loftus lacked the competence and flexibility to deal with the emergency.
Understandably, relations between the British commander and the
French governor were now severely strained, and Loftus hastened on
to catch his transports in the river and sail for Pensacola on March 25.
A detachment of twenty men under the command of Campbell and
Pittman remained at New Orleans until March 30, when they set out for
Mobile by way of Bayou St. Jean and Lake Pontchartrain. D'Abbadie
warned them to be wary of Indians around the lake, loaned them two
swivel-guns for their defense, and saw that they were accompanied by
a French batteau as far as Pass Christian. They met no opposition and
were back at Mobile by April 3.12


For the moment, the route to the Illinois was closed. The British high
command was grievously disappointed but not any less determined to
renew the effort at the earliest possible moment. Gage hoped that Loftus
might return to the Mississippi by August 1764, and he urged Major
Farmar at Mobile to "pave the way with presents" to the hostile In-
dians.13 The general had already given his approval to Pittman's proposal
to "take such Sketches & Plans of the [Illinois] Country & Forts which
you shall judge useful to be known";"1 he now urged that the young
lieutenant be assigned to the opening of the Iberville. Pittman had
written to Robertson that the river could be cleared with much less
trouble than had been imagined, and the commander-in-chief advised
Major Farmar that "As Lieut. Pittman has already viewed part of the
River, he will be the properest person to direct the work, & I think he
had better begin it from Lake Maurepas, as by clearing up the river, the
stream will carry away the rubbish, as he clears it."15
Farmar had other thoughts, doubtless strengthened by the opinions
of his old comrade Major Loftus. He preferred to place the Iberville

project in the hands of Captain James Campbell, whom Gage had desig-
nated for the command at Natchez, on the grounds that Campbell had
"more interest amongst the French than Lieut. Pittman." Pittman would
be utilized in a one-man attempt to reach Fort Chartres. On June 12,
Pittman sailed for New Orleans aboard the sloop James, with Farmar's
orders to proceed to the Illinois with a French traders' convoy. Once
he reached his destination, Pittman was instructed "to sound the dis-
position of the savages, and if in any ways favourable to assemble
them, sooth them with flattering talks, and assure them of the same
support and brotherly affection, as they ever experienced from the
French; in short to seize every occasion that will forward and support
the design & expectations of the Government."'6 The major was fully
aware of the necessity of Governor D'Abbadie's cooperation and pro-
vided Pittman with letters appealing for French assistance and pro-
Unfortunately, when Pittman reached New Orleans on June 21, he
was just too late to join a convoy headed for Fort Chartres. D'Abbadie
would have sent after the last batteau, which had sailed only a couple
of days before Pittman appeared, but the lieutenant had left his con-
siderable baggage, three months' supplies, and two servants stranded
by low water at the Bayou St. Jean. The inevitable delays entailed in
recalling the boat and bringing Pittman's equipage up to New Orleans
would mean that the lone batteau could never catch up with the convoy,
and D'Abbadie considered the dangers of unescorted river travel too
great to risk. Pittman might be able to secure transportation as far as
the Arkansas in a few weeks, and from there he could reach the Illinois
overland; or by early August he should be able to join another convoy
headed for Fort Chartres.'1
The young Englishman waited impatiently for D'Abbadie's assurances
to be realized. By the first week in July, Pittman was complaining that
the governor, who now declared with regret that it was far too danger-
ous for him to go up the river under any circumstances, was slyly at-
tempting to thwart his endeavor.19
The basis of D'Abbadie's very real concern for Pittman's safety was
sufficiently evident even if it was not persuasive to the young English-
man. On the afternoon of July 4, the governor entertained a body of
thirty-five Arkansas Indians. Pittman learned of the meeting while
having lunch with the commandant, Charles Aubry, who urged him to
attend and assured the lieutenant that only the press of business had
caused D'Abbadie to overlook his invitation to the conference. The two


men went together to the governor's house, but, remarked Pittman, "I
could read in Mons. D'Abbadie's countenance the moment I entered that
he never designed I should be there." Pittman would have departed, but
D'Abbadie called him back and seated him at his right hand, just beyond
Aubry. "This was rather inconvenient," Pittman continued, "for being
deaf with my left ear I cou'd not hear perfectly. Mons. D'Abbadie
spoke very low to the [Indian] Interpreter which was again another very
great inconvenience, for I was obliged as often as modesty wou'd permit
me to desire Mons. Aubry to repeat to me what passed." In spite of these
difficulties, Pittman heard quite clearly the governor's assurances to the
Arkansas of continuing French attachment and concern for their wel-
fare. D'Abbadie's remarks surprised Pittman, for he knew most cer-
tainly that Spanish authority would soon replace that of France in
Louisiana. Letters recently received from Paris and Madrid had made
the coming change of government a matter of common gossip in New
Orleans. The governor's solicitude for the redskins and his stubborn re-
jection of the new imperial alignment in the Mississippi Valley could
only be understood as part of a devious scheme to encourage the hostility
of the Indians and keep the British from reaching the Illinois.20
Ten days later Pittman was again present at meetings of D'Abbadie,
a bellicose band of those Tonica warriors who had turned back the
Loftus expedition, and a party of Choctaws. On both of these occasions
the governor made it amply clear that the British officer was his friend;
he assured the Indians, who all shook hands with Pittman, that the
English as well as the French would be their good friends. On the
eighteenth, when the Tonicas received their annual gifts from the gov-
ernor, D'Abbadie allowed Pittman to make a formal talk to the chief-
tains and to distribute wine, brandy, and a few presents.21
Determined to execute Farmar's orders and reach Fort Chartres in
spite of D'Abbadie's warnings and procrastination, Pittman proposed
about the middle of July to leave New Orleans, accompanied by one
servant and an Indian interpreter, under the pretense of returning to
Mobile. Instead, he planned to go to Pascagoula where he hoped to per-
suade Joseph Krebs, a local planter, to loan him a pirogue and three or
four Negroes so that he might paddle up the Pascagoula River to Chick-
asawhays and the Choctaw villages. From there, with a local escort, he
would go into Cherokee territory and engage a dozen or so warriors of
that tribe to guide him down the Tennessee River to the Illinois country.
Pittman imagined that the Cherokee could simply carry "white colors"
as a sign of their peaceful intent, "by which sanction my Person will


be sacred to those Indians." With luck he would remain at Fort Chartres
through the winter. If the redskins in the north proved to be hostile, he
would slip away and "drive down the Mississippi with the current" as
quietly as possible (as those British agents whose small parties succeeded
in reaching Fort Chartres were, in fact, forced to do).22 Before under-
taking this daring subterfuge, Pittman had the foresight to secure from
D'Abbadie a letter of introduction to M. de St. Ange, the French com-
mandant whom he hoped to find at Fort Chartres.23
Surfeited with French hospitality, Pittman left New Orleans on July
19, but his elaborate scheme for a secret dash to the Illinois was put
aside. He sailed on a merchant vessel which Major Farmar had hired
for military transport service and then subleased to a Jewish merchant
doing business between Mobile and New Orleans. Pittman reached Mo-
bile on the thirtieth to find himself in considerable ill favor. The sea-
men aboard the vessel complained to Farmar of having been forced to
carry Pittman with them, without compensation and at some cost in
cargo space, and the major chastised Pittman for having left New Or-
leans without orders, even though Farmar had actually written on the
twenty-first telling the lieutenant to return to Mobile if he were unable
to get up the Mississippi. Plans for a regimental ascent of the river were
still very much alive at Mobile, and Farmar hoped to send the next ex-
pedition by way of Lake Pontchartrain and the Iberville River. Within
a few days Pittman was off on his original mission again. He reached
New Orleans by August 12, embarrassed by his initial failure, miffed by
Farmar's cold reception, and more than ever determined to make his way
Governor D'Abbadie, suave and cooperative as always, told Pittman
that if he could find passage up the Mississippi, he was certainly free to
take it. The governor would support his request for transportation with
any who might help him. Encouraged by D'Abbadie's apparent change
of heart, Pittman gathered together a handful of Canadian voyageurs
who were also seeking to ascend the river. Reading to them from a pre-
pared statement, he indicated that his mission had D'Abbadie's blessing
and assured them that it was his purpose "to find means of calming the
savages in the Illinois, and giving the habitants a fair idea of the Eng-
lish who are going to reside among them, as to the liberty which the
subjects of Great Britain enjoy, & of their laws whose justice the uni-
verse reveres & admires." Portraying himself as the bearer of "the
amenities of peace," Pittman besought the Canadians to give him pas-
sage, to defend him from "the insults of the savages & to take

every necessary precaution" for his safety. Without committing him-
self further in writing, Pittman assured the men that "your zeal will
be recompensed by that esteem which all good subjects merit."25
Had Pittman offered no other arguments to his prospective oarsmen,
all might have been well, but he sharpened his point by stressing the
doubts and fears that hung over the French population of Louisiana
and spoke of "the certainty of the news that the Spanish will come in a
little while to take possession of the lands which remain to the French
in Louisiana."26 Further, in order that it might be most precise and
persuasive, he put his proposition to the Canadians in writing. The very
next day D'Abbadie learned of Pittman's action, sought him out, and
aggressively expressed his surprise and displeasure that the lieutenant
should have dared to hold a meeting in New Orleans without his per-
mission and there discuss the cession of Louisiana to Spain, a matter
on which no official communication had yet reached the governor (nor
would one until September 9). Pittman tried to excuse himself by urging
that he had had only the best of intentions and that he had put his
thoughts on paper only because "it was troublesome to talk in a language
in which one does not understand the force of the terms."27
The governor accepted Pittman's apology, but his pride had been
touched, along with the honor of his country. He protested to Paris and
to General Gage at the affront, sent a copy of Pittman's harangue to
New York, and concluded that though the lieutenant "has assured me of
the rectitude of his intentions I am not thereby less sensible of his
slight regard and reflection on this subject.""2 When the general admin-
istered a very mild reproof, Philip Pittman replied that he had met with
only seven Frenchmen, and D'Abbadie himself had suggested that he
talk with them. As for raising the delicate issue of Spanish occupation
of Louisiana, that was a subject of conversation at the governor's own
table and was openly discussed in New Orleans.29
Whatever chance Lieutenant Pittman may have had to find his way
up the Mississippi was unquestionably blasted by the loss of D'Abbadie's
friendship. The governor now insisted that the project was "dangerous
& imprudent," and his influence was sure to be more persuasive with
French rivermen than Pittman's blandishments. James Campbell, gath-
ering supplies at New Orleans for the Iberville project, felt that
D'Abbadie's hostility reflected his financial interest in maintaining the
French monopoly of the fur trade with the Illinois, but at least his
concern had moved the governor to warn Pittman of the hazards of the
undertaking.30 Pittman probably gave up all thought of the venture late

in August when he fell ill and was incapacitated for some time. In mid-
September he received Major Farmar's order of September 8 to return
to Mobile, but he was unable to do so until October 2 and did not reach
Fort Charlotte until October 27.31


Mobile was a poor place in which to recover one's health. The barracks
were dilapidated and insufficient to house the troops, and quarters in the
town were crowded and costly. Both the 22d and 34th regiments suf-
fered severely from sickness of every variety but especially from fevers
which decimated the British forces. Major Farmar was struggling to
organize a second attempt on the Mississippi and was greatly concerned
with establishing friendly relations with the Indian tribes to the north
of Mobile. The expenditure of nearly 1,500 on Indian presents would
help in that department, but he soon despaired of Captain Campbell's
prospects of opening the Iberville and allowing him to by-pass New Or-
leans.32 Nor was it any consolation to learn that the 22d Regiment was
ordered home and his own 34th must undertake the second assault on the
Mississippi. To add to Farmar's troubles, West Florida now received its
civil governor, George Johnstone, a vain, prickly naval captain whose
Scottish connections were his only qualifications for high office. John-
stone was accompanied by a host of bureaucratic toadies whose preten-
sions grated painfully on the worn nerves of Farmar's veterans. The
major and the governor were bound to clash; any man who stood be-
tween them would be caught in a vicious cross fire.
Ill health continued to plague Philip Pittman in Mobile and confined
him to his bed at the end of the year,33 but not before he had fallen
afoul of Major Robert Farmar. Upon returning to Mobile, Pittman
found that Farmar had no particular orders or duties for him to per-
form and saw no reason to employ him in any local service merely be-
cause of Gage's vague instructions that Pittman should "report to me
all observations you shall make on the country you are to pass thro'."34
As he was not allowed to participate in any of the public works under
way at Mobile, Pittman was practically unemployed.
When Governor Johnstone appeared, Pittman cultivated his favor with
some success. The governor recognized Pittman as "the acting Engineer"
at Mobile and declared him to be "a very ingenious young man." John-
stone's praise was doubtless the result of Pittman's endorsement of the
governor's pet project for erecting a fort at the junction of the Iber-


ville and Mississippi rivers. Assuming that Campbell had cleared the
Iberville channel, Johnstone pressed vigorously to achieve cooperation
between the army and the navy for the movement of men, guns, and
supplies to the Mississippi and the construction of Fort Bute. Pittman
provided Johnstone with a sketch of the Iberville and supported the
opinion that a fort would be "absolutely necessary" and that it could
provide itself with "every Species of fresh Provisions" from the sur-
rounding countryside.35
Inevitably, the governor's friendship aggravated Farmar's hostility
toward Pittman. When Captain Campbell returned from the Iberville
for a brief visit at Mobile, Pittman applied for assignment in his place
but was rejected. The young lieutenant promptly asked the major's per-
mission to return to New York. In order to avoid having his actions
brought to Gage's attention in a highly unfavorable manner, Farmar
finally agreed that Pittman might visit the Iberville and survey its
course, though he refused to provide any funds for that purpose or to
displace James Campbell. When Pittman asked for a written clarification
of his status as an engineer, the major refused to supply a satisfactory
answer and declared that he did not have the time to enter into a letter-
writing contest. Again, when Governor Johnstone summoned a confer-
ence to discuss plans for Fort Bute, Farmar refused to sit at the same
board with Pittman !36
Governor Johnstone, no unbiased witness, recorded yet another source
of friction between Farmar and Pittman at Mobile: "Lieut. Pittman
having remark'd to the Major the extravagant prices which were paid
for lime in carrying on the works, & having proposed to make lime at a
much smaller expence by employing his Majesty's troops at the usual al-
lowance. The Major agreed to the proposal & finding that the lime could
be made at three bitts per barrell, he insisted on charging five Bitts and
dividing the profit. But at the same time to recompense Mr. Pittman for
the pains he had taken, he desir'd him to bear a man extraordinary at
the works at 3 shillings per day, and also to charge for a labouring negro
belonging to Maj. Farmar 3 sh: per day more, both of which was
By the end of December, Pittman was beside himself. He considered
bringing formal charges against Major Farmar for his mistreatment,
and he drew up a bill of complaints intended for the eyes of General
Gage. Before submitting it, however, he sought the opinion of an un-
identified friend in New York (perhaps Lieutenant Colonel James Rob-
ertson) and was quickly and thoroughly discouraged from attempting to



subvert his commanding officer. Farmar, happy to be rid of a trouble-
some junior officer, agreed to an apparent reconciliation and allowed
Pittman to sail for the Mississippi aboard Unanimous on January 8,
1765, with Captain Campbell, and with orders to devote himself to taking
an exact survey of the Iberville.38


The dream of an all-British water route to the Mississippi had become
a nightmare well before Philip Pittman began his meticulous investiga-
tion of the course of the Iberville.39 In March 1764, both Pittman and
Campbell had seen the Mississippi end of the Iberville under favorable
conditions, and on their return to Mobile they had followed the lake and
coastal waterway. When Pittman was dispatched to New Orleans in
search of transportation to the Illinois, Campbell was ordered to take
up the work of clearing the Iberville. Both men were in New Orleans
during the summer of 1764, unable to pursue their assignments. Camp-
bell was delayed by such high water in the Mississippi that, it was
reported, he could not even find the banks of the Iberville! By late Sep-
tember the floodwaters had receded, and Campbell attacked his job. Con-
tracting the labor with a New Orleans entrepreneur, DuLisle Dupart,
who had property interests at Manchac, Campbell first proposed to em-
ploy forty hands on the work, but in order to expedite matters he closed
with Dupart for sixty. When he reached the junction of the two rivers
at the beginning of October, Campbell was amazed to find that the Mis-
sissippi was now some ten to twelve feet lower than the mouth of the
Iberville, and he could actually march along the bed of that river which
was "dry for the space of nine miles" between the Mississippi and
Comit rivers. Campbell immediately threw his task force at the fallen
trees and snags, the rafts of timber and brush, that blocked the channel.
With fifty-eight Negroes working under two white overseers, initial
progress was sufficiently impressive to enable Campbell to make a quick
trip by canoe to Mobile on November 22, and to announce that on his re-
turn he would reduce his force to thirty or forty men and assign the re-
mainder to work on the fort site at Point Iberville on the Mississippi.
So matters stood when Campbell and Pittman returned to New Orleans
about January 23, 1765.40
The English engineers were in New Orleans at the end of January
when Governor D'Abbadie suffered a fit of apoplexy that partially para-
lyzed him; a second attack on February 2 brought about his death two



days later. Pittman had an interview with the governor on February 1,
and reported that the stricken Frenchman had assured him that far
from being angry with him, he only thought the lieutenant overzealous.41
If Pittman patched up his differences with D'Abbadie, he was less
successful in maintaining good relations with his own colleague. As early
as February 8, Campbell was complaining that Pittman, jealous of
the captain's accomplishments on the Iberville, was planning to report
his performance in the meanest light.42 Pittman embarked upon his sur-
vey on February 12 with a party of ten, eight soldiers under Sergeant
Jeremiah Fetherby, and two Negroes.43 Campbell remained behind to
meet H.M.S. Nautilus which was bringing supplies for Fort Bute by sea.
On the evening of February 14, Pittman's surveying party entered
the Iberville from Lake Maurepas. The next day they proceeded steadily
upstream without hindrance, although they had to skirt several fallen
tree trunks in the river. At four o'clock in the afternoon of February
16, their batteau was stopped by a raft of floating logs which Pittman
and an Indian companion, in a canoe, only succeeded in passing with
great difficulty. Clearing operations were begun at once, but without
proper equipment the task appeared impossible. At noon the next day,
Pittman transferred his surveying equipment to the canoe and, accom-
panied by two Indians, two soldiers, and a Negro, paddled on up the
Iberville to secure assistance at the Mississippi, which he reached on the
nineteenth. Four or five days later a white man with ten Negroes came
down to the log jam, and in a day and a half the passage was opened
and Sergeant Fetherby's little squad pressed on to overtake Pittman
the afternoon of February 25, about four miles below the Amite. The
next day forward progress was again impeded by several log jams which
could barely be cut through, and by 5:30 P.M. the batteau was hopelessly
stuck. Pittman had reached a point half a league above Anatamaha,
three and a half or four leagues from the juncture with the Mississippi,
and despite Campbell's glowing report, there was as yet no sign of any
work having been done toward clearing the channel. The party moved
on by land, laying its chains and taking soundings of the river when
possible and, until March 5, using the camp at Point Iberville as its
The work was exhausting and Pittman's men suffered from fatigue
and sickness. Point Iberville provided little comfort, and Pittman was
shocked by the situation he encountered there. The King's stores, which
Campbell had deposited the previous October, were rapidly being con-
sumed by Dupart's laborers, and Sergeant John Parker, who had re-


mained on the Mississippi throughout the winter, advised Pittman that
Campbell had agreed to give Dupart a free hand with the supplies. At
the same time, Pittman found that, instead of the sixty workmen
promised by the Frenchman, no more than forty-two Negroes, including
six wenches, had ever been employed, and they had not worked half the
time for which the British were being charged. When Pittman arrived
on February 19, Dupart's crew consisted of three Frenchmen, nineteen
Negro men, four Negro women, and an unemployed French deserter!
To make matters worse, the Indians in the neighborhood of the Iberville
were grumbling because Campbell's promises of presents had not been
fulfilled and they had been deceived in their expectations.
As soon as his survey was completed, Pittman fell back down the
Iberville to the little French post at Tigohew Bayou on Lake Pontchar-
train where he hoped to rest his exhausted party. His boats were in need
of repair and when he made camp on March 8, he had only five days' pro-
visions left, one man had died, and another had deserted. The young
engineer undertook to sketch the outline of Lake Pontchartrain, but as
the shore was unsuited for his operations, he could not carry out an
actual survey. By the middle of March he was back in New Orleans,
and Sergeant Parker was bearing discouraging news to Mobile.44
It was obvious that affairs on the Iberville were not as Campbell had
described them. Pittman advised Farmar that the work was shoddy and
incomplete, hence to little purpose and not worth the expense involved.
He detailed his evidence that even with three to five feet of water along
the whole length of the channel, the Iberville was impassable for bat-
teaux, and he had witnesses and diagrams to back up his charges. At the
very same moment, Captain James Campbell, who had reached Point
Iberville by March 8, was assuring Farmar that the river was clear and
only awaited the rising waters of the Mississippi to be navigable. By
the end of the month he reported that the Indians were now making the
transit of the Iberville freely; with three or four feet of water in the
channel, logs were floating downstream toward Lake Pontchartrain.
Campbell bitterly denounced Pittman's meddling and his reliance on
John Parker's account of Campbell's arrangements with Dupart. Ac-
cording to the overseer, Sergeant Parker had been drunk all the time he
was at Point Iberville. As for Lieutenant Pittman, he was jealous be-
cause of the exceptionally good relations Campbell enjoyed with the
French and Indians. The longer Campbell sat at Point Iberville, the
more splenetic he became, and the more evident it appeared that the
Iberville was a Slough of Despond. Instead of rising, the Mississippi


fell. In April it flowed eight to ten feet below the dry bed of the Iber-
ville. Campbell could do nothing but curse and swear that Pittman was a
conceited fool who kindled a fire wherever he went, but who couldn't
get a dog to follow him out of New Orleans.45
Major Farmar, desperately endeavoring to get the 34th Regiment
away from Mobile and up the Mississippi, had long since concluded that
the Iberville would not serve. Pittman's advice verified his opinion and
Sergeant John Parker proved the point beyond dispute. For the pres-
ent, the major did not care for either engineer; they both had made up to
Governor Johnstone and were, in Farmar's eyes, rivals for His Ex-
cellency's favor. If Pittman's charges against Campbell were true, he
would send the two of them to New York and let General Gage dispense
justice between them.4"
For two months Philip Pittman sat in New Orleans working up the
surveys, charts, and draughts which his travels had -thus far produced.
He made use of the opportunity to consult with Frenchmen whose ex-
perience went much farther afield, to secure French surveys of the
lands extending from Fort Toulouse in the east to Nachitoches on the
west, from the Balize north to the River Margot, and to locate virtually
every village in the Choctaw and Chickasaw country.47 He was also able
to investigate the fraudulent operations of M. Dupart.
Investigation disclosed that old Dupart had an infamous reputation
among the French of New Orleans. Charles Aubry, acting governor
after the death of D'Abbadie, spoke of Dupart as a worthless, bad man.
Pittman was ready to agree and so informed Charles Stuart who passed
through New Orleans on his way to Point Iberville. Unfortunately,
Stuart mentioned the matter to Campbell who passed it on to Dupart,
and the Frenchman had a sizeable family in New Orleans who took
umbrage at the insult to their honor. Dupart pare had informed his rela-
tives that the passage of the Iberville was entirely cleared, that "there
was water enough for all the batteaux in America, and that he had a
negroe drowned in the Stream."'4 In May, the overseer returned to New
Orleans. He confronted Pittman and asked how the lieutenant dared to
assert, without any foundation, that he had cheated his employers? One
word led to another, and words to blows, in which young Pittman gained
a decisive victory. The public beating of an elderly Frenchman by an
English officer on the streets of New Orleans was an unbearable affront.
The old man's sons demanded the formal satisfaction of a duel, and
Pittman was ready to give it. To avoid a more serious incident, on May
15 Aubry ordered Pittman, for his own good, to remain quiet in his



house until the arrival of the British expedition which was expected
momentarily. News of the affair quickly spread to the countryside. Some
Houma and Alabama Indians, incensed by the attack upon their friend
Dupart, threatened such immediate vengeance that within a week Aubry
advised Major Farmar to order Pittman into the English camp on the
west bank of the Mississippi and not to let him come to town, for Aubry
could not answer for what the Indians might do if they met Pittman.49
By May 22, Gage's "extraordinary Engineer" had taken up residence
within the lines of the 34th Regiment and was observing for the second
time the trials of a British expedition attempting to ascend the Missis-


If Major Arthur Loftus' expedition was frustrated by a lack of logistic
and diplomatic planning, Major Robert Farmar's assault on the Mis-
sissippi was almost swamped by an excess of attention to the necessary
details. For nearly a year Farmar fretted over the problems of collect-
ing boats and supplies at New Orleans, including 5,235 gallons of brandy
to sustain his rowers and placate the Indians. The French were coopera-
tive, but only when Farmar could offer cash, not credit. The establish-
ment of civil government in West Florida raised endless problems at
Mobile as Governor Johnstone attempted to intervene in military affairs
and, when he was rebuffed, raised all sorts of legal stumbling blocks
athwart Farmar's preparations. Indian relations were greatly improved
by the arrival of Superintendent John Stuart, but it was impossible to
bring his efforts to fruition before the end of March 1765. By that
time the British authorities of West Florida were involved in endless
vituperation, and Johnstone was demanding that Farmar be called to
account by a court martial. Throughout April, Farmar chafed to be off;
when he finally got his transports loaded, bad weather delayed his de-
parture until May 4, and not until May 22 was the 34th Regiment fully
assembled at New Orleans. At that moment General Gage was drawing
up orders for Farmar to return to Mobile to face a court martial on
Governor Johnstone's charges, but the word did not reach West Florida
until long after Farmar's departure from New Orleans in the last week
of June.
The month in camp across the river from New Orleans was filled with
confusion over supplies, boats, and money. Morale was low and deser-
tions numerous. Thoroughly put out by Pittman's gaucherie in the Du-



part affair, and in receipt of a formal complaint by the Frenchman,
Farmar swore that the lieutenant was no gentleman and was not fit
company for the officers of the 34th Regiment. Pittman resented the slur
as much as the ostracism that followed,50 but when the expedition's
dozen batteaux headed north, there was work enough for all hands.
By July 12, Farmar's convoy was at the Iberville, where the first
steps toward the construction of Fort Bute were being taken, and Cap-
tain James Campbell joined the expedition. As Farmar would spend
nearly two weeks at the post, redistributing his supplies and taking on
cannon that had been sent up the Mississippi aboard H.M.S. Nautilus, he
decided to deal with Philip Pittman. On July 14, a court of enquiry (a
less formal procedure than a court martial) was convened to hear the
charges against Lieutenant Pittman which had been submitted to Far-
mar by M. Dupart. Pittman was completely taken by surprise, and with
Campbell at hand to support Dupart's complaints, the young engineer
was hard pressed to excuse his actions. He was forced to admit his ig-
norance of Campbell's arrangements with Dupart and to attribute the
squabble in New Orleans to the Frenchman's determination to gain re-
venge-literally, to get his scalp! Both Farmar and Pittman forwarded
reports of the court of enquiry to headquarters, and Pittman made it
clear that he felt himself unjustly persecuted by his commanding of-
On July 22 the British expedition took to the river again. The intense
summer heat imposed a daily schedule that resulted in a snail-like ad-
vance. The day started at 3:00 A.M.; at 9:00 A.M. a halt was called until
4 or 5 P.M. when work was resumed. Efforts to stretch the morning stint
proved catastrophic: the troops suffered forty cases of heat prostration,
although only one soldier died. As the river level was falling, submerged
logs and mudbanks posed a constant threat, for the grounding of a heavy
batteau might mean a two-day stop before movement could be renewed.
In spite of such conditions, Farmar's men remained in reasonably good
spirits, and the major made every effort to maintain discipline. The
Roche D'Avion was passed without incident, and on August 11 the con-
voy tied up below old Fort Rosalie at Natchez for a week's rest.
Pittman planned to survey both the fort and the surrounding country-
side at Natchez, but Farmar's short stay and other regimental business
made it impossible for him to complete more than the survey of the
fort.52 Considerable time was expended in a disciplinary matter which
highlighted the antagonisms that rent Farmar's little command. The
major ordered a regimental court martial on a drummer of the 34th for



having disobeyed orders not to beat his wife. In the course of the trial
it appeared that the lady had been frequently and exceedingly intimate
with a surgeon's mate, whereby the drummer was held to have been "in-
jured in the most tender part." The couple being "caught in the fact,"
the drummer had chastized the woman on the spot-with the enthusi-
astic approbation of Lieutenants Henry, Sedgwick, Ford, and Ensign
Robinson who made up the court martial. Major Farmar was furious
at the court's failure to uphold his disciplinary measures and promptly
relegated the junior officers to the same category as Pittman: creatures
of Governor Johnstone and enemies to the success of the expedition.53
On August 17, the convoy left Natchez and struggled northward. At
the mouth of the Arkansas River on September 27, Farmar's best pilot
deserted, and progress was subsequently retarded by confusion over the
numerous channels and islands of the river. While the 34th Regiment
fought the Mississippi current and watched its supplies dwindle, Cap-
tain Thomas Stirling and a hundred men of the 42d Regiment floated
down the Ohio and reached Fort Chartres on October 9. Three weeks
later, a French convoy which had passed Farmar at the Arkansas
brought news of his plight to the Illinois, and Stirling immediately dis-
patched to Farmar's assistance two batteaux loaded with provisions.
The relief was most welcome, for the 34th Regiment's rations were ex-
hausted, and during November Farmar's men were reduced to an un-
palatable diet of buffalo meat, provided by hired hunters and a few
friendly Chickasaw Indians. At last, on December 2, the expedition
reached Fort Chartres, and Philip Pittman clambered ashore after five
months and five days on the Mississippi.54


The Illinois country extended a cold welcome to Farmar's exhausted
travelers. Fort Chartres was threatened by the voracious waters of the
Mississippi which already encroached upon its outworks. The houses
were decrepit, many in various stages of collapse. Food was so short
that Farmar ordered Captain Stirling's detachment downriver at once
in order that they might all survive the winter. The few remaining
French habitants were antagonistic, and the Indians were insolent.
While Robert Farmar set about transforming Fort Chartres into
Fort Cavendish and settling order upon the Illinois, Philip Pittman
began to make those observations of the country and its settlements for
which he had waited two long years. It was too cold in December to do



any surveying, so he dispatched to Gage copies of French plans of
Forts Rosalie and Chartres and descriptions of Natchez and the Arkan-
sas. He had orders from Farmar to visit the villages dependent on Fort
Chartres and planned to undertake that service at the earliest oppor-
tunity.55 By February 24, Pittman was able to send to New York de-
scriptions of Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Paincourt, Prairie du Rocher, St. Phil-
lippe, and Ste. Genevieve. Unfortunately, his relations with Farmar
were going from bad to worse. Although Gage had appointed him to be
engineer at the Illinois, Farmar ignored him and employed James Camp-
bell for all official purposes, refusing Pittman a voice even in the con-
struction of a smithy inside the fort. Furthermore, it appeared that the
major was up to his old tricks, juggling his accounts and issuing post-
dated contracts.56
General Gage, only now receiving the reports of Farmar's voyage up
the Mississippi, was irritated by the endless "complaint & contestation,"
the lack of harmony and good will among his officers. Acknowledging
receipt of the records of the court of enquiry on Pittman, Gage refused
all comment, saying, "I have not as yet examined them, nor do I know
when I shall have leisure so to do."57 Had Gage enjoyed instant commu-
nication with Fort Cavendish, his measured reprimand could not have
kept Pittman and Farmar from one another's throat.
On March 13, 1766, Major Farmar found himself "under the neces-
sity of putting Lieut. Pittman of the 15th Regiment in arrest for dis-
obedience of orders, obstructing the service of the Government, and
seditious behavior." Specifically, Farmar charged that the young sur-
veyor had purchased a house and appurtenant land in contravention of
the commandant's orders concerning the transfer of properties with
disputable titles. Pittman was also accused of having deterred villagers
from entering into contracts with Farmar by claiming that unless it
was negotiated through the engineer, no payment would be made for
public construction work. "This," the Major declared, "is endeavouring
to subvert all government & stop the public credit." It was certainly dis-
ruptive and insulting, and Farmar proposed to bring Pittman before a
general court martial as soon as Lieutenant Colonel John Reed of the
34th Regiment arrived at Fort Cavendish.58
Now that Farmar's long, nagging course of persecution had culmi-
nated in a formal prosecution, Lieutenant Pittman relieved himself of
his pent-up frustrations in a lengthy message to General Gage in which
he reviewed his relations with the major over the previous two years.
Since June 1764, Farmar had denigrated his position and his services,


consistently preferring Captain Campbell and rejecting Pittman's appli-
cations for employment. Even now Farmar publicly declared that Pitt-
man was not to be considered an engineer, merely a surveyor, in spite of
being shown Gage's orders to the contrary. On the Mississippi, Farmar
had loaded contempt and reproach on the young officer. When Pittman's
anger became so great that he dared not speak to Farmar, his letters to
his commanding officer were torn up without reply. Again, when the
major issued the order for his arrest, Pittman's request for a statement
of charges was tossed aside without an answer. Farmar had refused to
recognize his right to a house at Fort Cavendish and had confiscated his
garden. The charge that he had interfered with the public works was
absurd, for he had not been allowed to engage in any whatsoever! As for
stopping the public credit, he had indeed refused to exchange a bill for
88, drawn by Farmar on a New York merchant, for an equivalent
amount in treasury bills which were of considerably greater value. At
the bottom of the whole affair, he concluded, lay Farmar's belief that,
as an intimate of Governor George Johnstone, Pittman was responsible
for the accusations brought against the major in West Florida, which
would eventually result in Farmar's court martial.5"
The next ten weeks at Fort Cavendish must have been pretty grim.
The peripatetic Lieutenant Colonel Reed (who was supposed to be at
Pensacola rather than at the Illinois) did not arrive until May,60 but
preparations for Pittman's trial then proceeded swiftly. On Saturday,
May 22, 1766, Captain Alexander Dundas sat as president of a general
court martial with Captains Gordon Forbes, Edward Pownall, and James
Campbell, Lieutenants Baugh, Ross, Henry, Ancrum, and Ford, and En-
signs Robinson, Wainwright, Wood, and Shadwell. Lieutenant Hunter
Sedgwick acted as deputy judge advocate and presented charges accusing
Pittman of "disobedience of orders, obstructing the service of the
Government, attempting to stop the public credit, disrespectful behav-
iour to Major Farmar and depreciating his character as Commandant."
The defendant immediately protested the presence of Captain Camp-
bell on the court on the ground that Campbell might be subject to future
prosecution by Pittman relative to his work on the Iberville. Pittman also
pointed out that he would certainly call many of the members of the
court (virtually the whole officer corps at Fort Cavendish) as witnesses
for his own defense. The members of the Court immediately-and
doubtless with considerable relief-agreed with Pittman's objections;
Lieutenant Colonel Reed concurred, and the court was dissolved.61
Having neatly parried Farmar's attack, Pittman attempted a riposte.



He asked Lieutenant Colonel Reed to convene a court of enquiry in order
to lay his disputes with Farmar before General Gage, as Farmar had
done to him at the Iberville. Unwilling to prolong the squabble, Reed re-
fused; but Pittman was determined to have his revenge, and he soon
presented to Reed sixteen articles of accusation against Robert Farmar
which were sent on to New York.62 Those articles would weigh heavily
on Philip Pittman's career, but at the moment they relieved his accumu-
lated anger almost as much as the departure of Major Farmar on June
18 removed the cause of his agitation. John Reed assured the lieutenant
that he might now fulfill all the functions of engineer without hin-
drance, and the remainder of Pittman's sojourn in the Illinois would be
devoted to his professional duties.
The summer of 1766 was quiet at Fort Cavendish, but at army head-
quarters General Thomas Gage found himself deluged with evidence of
the bickering and confusion that had accompanied the 34th Regiment
since its landing in West Florida. "There seems to be some contagion in
the climate," Gage had observed,63 and the commander-in-chief was de-
termined to eradicate it. At first he was extremely sorry to hear of the
feud between Pittman and Farmar and assured the former that "I
certainly appointed you to be Engineer" and would disapprove any other
arrangements.64 The general regretted that Farmar's charges against
Pittman were left hanging by the court martial at Fort Cavendish, but,
he told Farmar, "You will have more opportunity to get this matter
brought to a final decision.""6 When Pittman's list of sixteen accusations
reached him, Gage literally boiled. He was unimpressed by the engineer's
zeal and declared that had "motives of justice and duty to your King
and country only actuated you," these charges would have been brought
earlier. "As disputes have gone so far betwixt the Major and you, and
. your tryal demanded by him has only been occasionally delayed, I
can't but observe to you, your accusations are ill timed and have not the
weight they wou'd of course have had, if preferred at another time."66
Further evidence of the quarrels of the officers of the 34th Regiment
continued to pile up. Gage marveled that they could not "live in Amity
& Friendship," but as that seemed impossible, he sharply chided Pitt-
man for his failure to press the charges against Farmar-"which I
should be glad you had done, if you could prove anything." The general
was surprised that Pittman and the officers whom he intended to call as
witnesses had not yet gone to Pensacola for Farmar's court martial,
and he ordered them to do so at once.67 Months would pass before Lieu-



tenant Pittman knew of Gage's displeasure, however, and there was
much work to be done at Fort Cavendish.
In August 1766, the Illinois country was visited by three remarkable
travelers: Captain Harry Gordon, a distinguished representative of the
Royal Corps of Engineers; his assistant, the future geographer of the
United States, Ensign Thomas Hutchins; and the redoubtable frontiers-
man George Croghan. Dispatched by Gage to observe and report upon
the western posts, Gordon and his companions had come down the Ohio
from Fort Pitt and would continue down the Mississippi to New Orleans,
then to West Florida. At Fort Cavendish they found a sickly garrison
and a post that was threatened with immediate destruction by the river.
"The Ruin of the Fort was inevitable next Spring," wrote Gordon,
"without doing something." He directed Pittman to strengthen the south-
west bastion of the fort, less than twenty-six yards from the hungry
Mississippi, by planting the slope, and instructed him to attempt to di-
vert the river's current by constructing a jetty above the fort. Little
could be done at the moment, however, because of the heat, high water,
and lack of manpower.6
Having satisfied himself with regard to Fort Cavendish, Captain
Gordon and Ensign Hutchins set out on a tour of the nearby villages,
accompanied by Pittman who already had some knowledge of the Illinois
settlements. On August 28, the party started overland to Cahokia, about
forty-five miles from the British post. There they planned to hire a
canoe, ostensibly to reconnoiter the mouth of the Missouri River, but
with the real intent of going up the Illinois. Unable to secure transpor-
tation, they were delighted to receive an invitation from Louis St. Ange,
formerly the French commandant at Fort Chartres, to visit him at
Paincourt, the future site of St. Louis. They enjoyed the Frenchman's
hospitality the night of August 30 but, finding no way to proceed farther
north, they returned to Cahokia the next evening. By September 2, the
little party of engineers was back at Fort Cavendish.69 Four days later,
Gordon, Hutchins, and Croghan headed down the Mississippi for New
Orleans, well impressed by Lieutenant Philip Pittman and the carto-
graphic work he had done while ascending the Mississippi. Pittman's
plan of the river was made available to them, and Gordon judged it to be
"exacter than any thing we could do in tumbling down this rapid Tor-
rent." Consequently Gordon and Hutchins decided to forego any attempt
to duplicate Pittman's observations of the Mississippi.70
During the autumn of 1766, Pittman was occupied with the prepara-



tion of detailed sections and elevations of Fort Cavendish and a survey
of Kaskaskia ordered by Lieutenant Colonel Reed, but the commandant
would not allow him to travel farther afield. Nor were Harry Gordon's
complicated schemes for protecting Fort Cavendish from the Mississippi
significantly advanced; the sickly condition of the troops at the post
made it impossible to undertake any major engineering project."
As winter settled in at the Illinois, Pittman's duties became those of
any garrison officer. In November he acted as deputy judge advocate
(prosecutor, in other words) in the court martial of two soldiers of the
34th Regiment who were charged with desertion, a fairly common prob-
lem at Fort Cavendish in view of the proximity of French settle-
ments on the west side of the Mississippi and the chances of working
down the river to New Orleans. Both Sergeant William Johnson and
John Wells, soldier, proved to have good characters, but they had gotten
drunk and become delinquent. The court necessarily found them guilty,
but, upon review, the commander-in-chief left the execution of their
sentence-a thousand lashes and demotion-to the discretion of the local
The winter of 1766-67 was severe. In mid-January 1767, the cold
was so intense that the Mississippi froze and one could cross on the ice,
but perhaps Lieutenant Pittman's existence was somewhat warmed by
the fact that his house served as the storage place for the liquor
Matthew Clarkson sold for the firm of Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan.73
When he received Gage's sharp censures, Pittman needed comforting.
Early in February he penned a most submissive epistle to the general in
which he sought to explain Farmar's lengthy persecution and how "the
little methods he made use of to the last moment of his power to make
me unhappy, begot that resentment which human nature cannot smother
and made me declare myself for the first time an enemy to an individ-
ual." He had not yet gone to Pensacola, Pittman explained, because he
had not, until now, been ordered to do so, and without Gage's instruc-
tions he could not desert his place at the Illinois. Having received His
Excellency's orders, he would indeed hasten southward as soon as the
frozen Mississippi would permit him to travel.7 The ice broke up on
February 20, and Pittman left Fort Cavendish at the earliest oppor-
tunity. Lieutenant Colonel Reed, reviewing the engineer's quarrel with
Farmar, offered Gage the opinion that "there's more pique on both sides
than anything else."'7 By March 24, Philip Pittman was in Pensacola
awaiting the verdict of Farmar's court martial for the justification of
his complaints.76




Although Major Robert Farmar's trial had been ordered in the spring
of 1765, he did not return to West Florida until the spring of 1767, and
Brigadier General Frederick Haldimand, who now commanded at Pensa-
cola, found it almost impossible to gather a sufficient number of ranking
officers to hold the court martial. The major was content to pursue his
private interests at Mobile, but Haldimand soon realized that something
must be done with young Pittman until matters could be brought to a
head. A devastating storm which almost destroyed the post at Apalachee
provided a job for the unemployed engineer. On June 5, 1767, Haldi-
mand ordered Pittman and a carpenter, along with admiralty surveyor
George Gauld, to examine the damage, survey the environs of Fort San
Marcos, and investigate land communications between that isolated post
and both East and West Florida." The party left on the twelfth, and
their assignment was completed within two months. Pittman returned
to Pensacola with a series of four reports and plans for improvements at
Fort San Marcos; these were duly forwarded to General Gage.78 He also
prepared, in conjunction with Gauld, "A sketch of the entrance from the
sea to Apalachy," a sizeable colored map tracing the St. Mark's River
thirty-five miles north to the Indian village of Mikisuki or Newtown
(now Miccosukee, northeast of Tallahassee).79
The desirability of keeping Pittman and Farmar separated was all
too evident to Haldimand. Pittman pressed upon the brigadier a copy of
his lengthy articles of accusation, and Farmar kept the pot boiling by
complaining that Pittman had insulted him-though only very slightly!
As Haldimand remarked, Farmar could not recover his character with-
out attacking that of his prosecutor. The major was resolved to pursue
Pittman with all rigor and accomplish the ruin of a naturally imprudent
young man.80 Both officers were concerned to secure witnesses in their
behalf, and late in August, Pittman was given permission to visit New
Orleans, in the company of Captain John Marsh, in order to investigate
the availability of Frenchmen who might testify in the trial.8' As far
as its ostensible purpose was concerned, the trip was a complete waste of
Pittman's time. New Orleans merchants would not leave their businesses
and go to Pensacola for no more compensation than the cost of their
passage; French military men refused to participate in a court action
requiring sworn testimony, for they held that in French courts their
word of honor was sufficient unto itself; and there was no provision in
French law whereby either group could be extradited to West Florida.



In order to utilize their evidence, a British court of enquiry would have
to be sent to New Orleans !82
Disappointing as this was, Pittman probably found some solace in the
pleasures of New Orleans-at least Captain Marsh privately admitted
that he "had distributed his last [money] in a very liberal manner to the
French Gentlemen at New Orleans.""3 Marsh returned to Pensacola by
ship, escorting a bedraggled baker's dozen of deserters from the Illinois,
and was back by October 30. Pittman was unable to secure passage with
Marsh, all places being filled, so he hired a little golette and, with Captain
Disney, who commanded at Fort Bute, left New Orleans on October 8
to return by way of Lake Pontchartrain. They arrived early in Novem-
ber, making a suspiciously leisurely trip of it, but as Haldimand ob-
served, communication was always uncertain in West Florida.84
Pittman returned in time for assignment to an expedition which en-
abled him to visit the only West Florida post he had not yet seen, Fort
York on the Tombecb6 River. The brigadier had long wished to with-
draw from that trouble spot north of Mobile, but not until the end of
October 1767 did Indian affairs allow the British to retire gracefully.
Boats were readied at Mobile, and Pittman was sent west to join Deputy
Indian Superintendent Charles Stuart who would command the task
force. Pittman's attachment to this operation was designed to keep him
busy and out of Farmar's way, for Haldimand seems to have had a soft
spot for the young man and regretted that his talents were being wasted.
The engineer's task was to trace the course of the Tombecbe River and,
at Fort York, to inquire concerning a feasible route of march between
that post and abandoned Fort Toulouse on the Alabama River (near the
modern site of Montgomery). Pittman preceded Stuart up the river, but,
as his progress would be slowed by his surveying duties, Stuart expected
to overtake his colleague before he reached Fort York even though his
own departure was delayed past mid-December by heavy rains at Mobile.
Apparently Pittman had thought of marching between Fort York and
Fort Toulouse, but Stuart assured Haldimand that bad weather would
force his party to return to Mobile by water. Both officers and the
Tombecb6 garrison were back in Mobile by January 16, 1768, and Philip
Pittman had charted one more American river.85
A final opportunity to visit the Mississippi arose in February 1768,
when Lieutenant Governor Montfort Browne requested Pittman's serv-
ices for a projected six weeks' tour of the western parts of the colony.
At an earlier date Haldimand undoubtedly would have been delighted to
send the young engineer on such a mission, but by mid-February the



brigadier was expecting at any moment to complete the roster of cap-
tains for Robert Farmar's court martial, and he refused to risk further
delays by allowing the star witness for the prosecution to escape his
Even for the British Army in North America, the Farmar court mar-
tial was an incredibly long-delayed operation. Ordered by Gage in May
1765, on the basis of charges and accusations presented to the general
by Governor George Johnstone, it had been frustrated by the late ar-
rival of orders for Farmar to surrender the leadership of the Missis-
sippi expedition to his second-in-command, and by the major's sojourn at
Fort Cavendish and longer period of residence at New Orleans after his
return from the Illinois. In fact, Farmar took care not to return to
West Florida until Johnstone had been recalled in January 1767.87 At
the same time, Gage had encountered great difficulty in establishing a
brigadier general at Pensacola: Henry Bouquet died immediately upon
arrival; John Reed went on up the Mississippi; William Tayler, brought
over from East Florida, was only a temporary appointment. Not until
Frederick Haldimand's arrival in March 1767 was there a competent
senior officer on the spot. Haldimand, at least, could lay hands on Robert
Farmar, but not upon the six captains needed to constitute a legal court.
He had to scour every post south of Charleston to gather his judges.
Captains Jenkins, Sutherland, and Phillips were sitting around Pensa-
cola complaining of their tedious and expensive duty by September 1767,
but Captain Hope was so elderly and ill that Haldimand feared he would
die before the court could convene. Captain Hodgson was shipwrecked
and very nearly lost en route to Pensacola. By February 1768, Gage was
ready to give up the attempt, allow Haldimand to hold a simple court of
enquiry, and send all the principals to New York for final judgment.88
At last, in March 1768, Haldimand had his captains, the accused, and
his accuser at hand. The court was ordered to convene on Wednesday,
March 16. Just before that date Pittman approached the brigadier and
expressed surprise that Farmar was apparently to be tried only on
charges laid by Johnstone and General Gage. What of his own accusa-
tions? He showed Haldimand his list of sixteen articles and insisted that
he had documentary proofs to support them. Frederick Haldimand pos-
sessed great self-restraint. He attempted to explain to Pittman that such
evidence would be insufficient without corroborating witnesses, but, he
sighed, he "tried uselessly." Pittman had consulted Lieutenant Francis
Hutcheson, the judge advocate, and had been assured that his evidence
was admissible. As Pittman demanded that his charges be heard, Haldi-



mand felt obliged to consent that Farmar should respond to all of
Pittman's accusations."9
The court martial faced a formidable task. Before it lay three sets
of charges against Farmar, and they ranged from the vaguely general
to the most picayune. From March 16 to April 20, with time out for sev-
eral adjournments, the court pursued its work, wisely observing that
there was considerable duplication in the three lists and consolidating
the issues wherever possible. Farmar was fully and honorably acquitted
of the charges submitted by the commander-in-chief and of eight ar-
ticles stemming from Governor Johnstone which were found to be "as
malicious as the substance of them is groundless."
Philip Pittman offered the court five major accusations involving pec-
ulation, fraud, and taking kickbacks in conjunction with the Missis-
sippi expedition."o Farmar was found innocent of all these charges. In
addition, Pittman presented his sixteen supplementary articles accusing
Farmar of "being wanting to the interest of his King and Country,
and behaving in a manner unbecoming the character of an Officer and a
Gentleman." Specifically, Pittman complained that on the Mississippi,
Farmar had ordered him to prosecute a regimental court martial against
a surgeon's mate when Pittman wanted to hold a general court martial-
a proceeding which the major felt would unduly delay the expedition's
progress. At Fort Cavendish, Farmar had distributed to the men of
the 34th Regiment gifts of game which he had received, and charged
them against rations. The major refused to pay for supplies in treasury
bills when he had promised to do so, and he had attempted to suborn the
commissary. He had prevented Pittman from doing his duty and had
employed James Campbell in his stead. Finally, he had seized timber
that belonged to Pittman and used it for the smithy at Fort Cavendish.
The court gave Lieutenant Pittman absolutely no satisfaction. It ob-
served that Pittman wrongly "considered himself in a manner inde-
pendent of Major Farmar" while on the Mississippi expedition. It cor-
dially approved Farmar's use of wild game to feed his hungry troops.
It found a number of Pittman's charges "false, scandalous, childish,
malicious, absurd." In the course of the hearing, Pittman and Farmar
were brought face to face, contradicting one another under oath, and
Pittman lost. The court concluded that "from the general behaviour of
Lieut. Pittman," Major Farmar "had good and sufficient reasons" not
to employ him. All in all, the court was shocked by the "indecency" of
Pittman's charge that Robert Farmar was anything but an officer and a



With a deep sigh of relief, Brigadier General Frederick Haldimand
packed up the 170-page record of Farmar's court martial and dispatched
it to New York at the end of April. Pittman and Farmar were ordered
to report to headquarters according to Gage's wishes, but Farmar suc-
ceeded in remaining for the time in West Florida. Gage was now quite
ready to see Pittman tried on Farmar's charges, and when he read the
transcript of the court martial at Pensacola, he was of the opinion that
Pittman's behavior deserved formal investigation.92
Before the denouement in West Florida, Gage had thought to return
Philip Pittman to the Illinois, by way of New York, and to employ him
as the engineer in charge of the construction of a new fort to replace
old Fort Chartres.93 But the Farmar court martial had scarcely been
concluded when the 15th Regiment was relieved of American duty and
the West Florida regiments were withdrawn to East Florida."4 Under
the circumstances it appears that when Philip Pittman sailed from
Pensacola, probably about the first of August, it was to England rather
than to New York. Robert Farmar followed that course and was in
London by the end of the year 1768, complaining that he had been
brought to face a court martial "on the bare insinuation of Lieut.
Phillip Pittman."95


Of Pittman's later years little can or need be said here. In 1769, he was
at home in England and enjoying a comfortable society while he pre-
pared the labors of his American years for publication. Perhaps he was
a neighbor of Mrs. Dorothea Gibbon of Beriton, near Petersfield, Hamp-
shire; he was sufficiently close to witness a deed for her in September
1769. Pittman also carried Dorothea Gibbon's greetings to her stepson
Edward in London during the ensuing winter, probably about February
14, 1770, when the lieutenant of the 15th Regiment of Foot resigned
his commission in the British Army. It is tempting to imagine the future
historian of the Roman Empire offering suggestions as Philip Pittman
readied the manuscript of The Present State of the European Settle-
ments on the Missisippi for publication. The two men were at least
on such cordial grounds that when Pittman reported Edward's recent
illness to Dorothea Gibbon, the historian could write in jest, "Pittman
was a Monkey to alarm you about me."96
Although his knowledge of the Iberville River was still of interest to
British colonial administrators, who questioned him concerning its use



as an alternate route to the posts on the Mississippi,97 Philip Pittman
soon launched upon a new career. He secured appointment as captain
and engineer in the army of the East India Company. That rank would
appear on the title page of his book (without identification of the serv-
ice), and on April 19, 1770, Edward Gibbon sent his best wishes for "A
good Voyage to the Nabob," whom he had seen the previous week, per-
haps for the last time.9" Captain Pittman sailed for Madras, India, in
1770, and was engaged in his new employment by March 1771, when
he and Captain Henry Montresor proposed to make a careful survey of
Fort St. George and its environs, "an undertaking which will require
great Perseverance and Fatigue on our Parts.""9 At the beginning of
1772, Pittman was one of two engineering captains assigned to an ex-
tensive survey of the region around Madras. The same year he married
Miss Honora Dawkes.100 Perhaps it was the birth of a son that led to
the suggestion in 1773 that Edward Gibbon should interest himself in
Pittman's advancement.101 Dorothea Gibbon and Mrs. Mary Dawkes, the
engineer's mother-in-law, seem to have been friends, and Mrs. Gibbon
pressed Edward vigorously; but the future M.P. and member of the
Board of Trade was not yet a politician, nor was he willing to assert
himself in Pittman's behalf with former Governor George Johnstone
whose brother John was a proper Nabob with considerable influence in
the Honourable Company.102
Philip Pittman remained in India, surveyed the Cicacole Circar with
the aid of a junior officer, but "soon fell a Martyr to the Climate." He
died at Vizagapatam early in 1775.103 In August, Edward Gibbon sadly
informed Dorothea that "poor Pittman is dead. I know no other par-
ticulars of it."'04


In the Preface to The Present State of the European Settlements,
Philip Pittman remarked that his years of residence and professional
employment enabled him "to speak with at least as much authority as
any author who has hitherto wrote" on West Florida, Louisiana, the
Mississippi, and the adjacent posts in the Illinois. None could challenge
that claim, but Pittman's ensuing statement that "this work was origi-
nally wrote at the request, and for the perusal only, of the secretary of
state for the colonies" is subject to serious qualification. There is indeed
evidence that Pittman was consulted by the American Secretary, Lord
Hillsborough, concerning the prospects of opening the Iberville, some

time in 1770,105 and Hillsborough may well have suggested that Pittman
consolidate the fruits of his experience in more enduring form. It is
unlikely that he would have referred to the secretary without at least a
hint of encouragement from that quarter. But if the resulting book was
inspired by Hillsborough, its text was derived from the series of re-
ports submitted by Pittman to General Thomas Gage during the years
1765 to 1768. His own copies of these reports and the accompanying
charts and maps served Pittman as a first and all but final draft of the
manuscript that became The Present State.
It is to be regretted that Pittman did not elaborate further upon Mo-
bile and Pensacola, for he knew them when the English first arrived and
could evaluate the results of five years of occupation. His brief com-
ments echo the sentiments of every British officer. The fetid, miasmal
location of Mobile defied improvement, and the Army virtually with-
drew from Fort Charlotte. Pensacola, on the other hand, responded to
the reforms urged by surgeon John Lorimer and instituted by Brigadier
General Frederick Haldimand.106 In spite of the brevity of Pittman's
remarks on the province (and his rather incredible report of a summer
temperature of 114), the Critical Review believed that his account
would help to remove the prejudices of Englishmen concerning the "in-
salubrity" of West Florida.107
Pittman's statement that his "ingenious friend" George Johnstone
intended a book on West Florida suggests a different sort of loss to the
literature of the Gulf Coast. The considerable body of manuscripts that
Governor Johnstone dispatched to Whitehall suggests that any book he
might have written would have been diffuse and argumentative (not to
say misleading) in the extreme. Johnstone was not without a nasty sort
of satirical wit, but little of it shows in his one published account of
West Florida.108
Although Pittman was not accorded the honor of acting as surveyor
in West Florida, he prepared several draughts illustrative of its ports.
His "Plan of Mobile" appears in The Present State, and in the spring of
1765, he finished "A draught of the barr off the bay of Mobille & Dau-
phine island," which shows in color the outlines of Mobile Point, most
of Dauphin Island, Pelican Island, and the bar at the entrance to the
bay. At the same time he made "A draught of Ship & Catt islands"
which lie to the west of Dauphin Island, and "A draught of the bay at
The core of Pittman's book begins with his quite accurate description
of the mouths of the Mississippi River and the tortuous course followed

by ships ascending to New Orleans.11o From his many and extended visits
to that city, Pittman derived an intimate view of its officials and an
appreciation of its financial troubles between 1763 and 1768. He knew
D'Abbadie and Aubry well and perhaps knew others among the French
colonial patriots who ousted Ulloa. Pittman's account of the rebellion
and its suppression by O'Reilly was, of course, derivative, perhaps from
James Campbell and other West Floridians who followed events at New
Orleans with keen interest; it was nonetheless concise and accurate. As
an appendix Pittman printed the "Arret" or Decree issued by the Su-
perior Council at New Orleans, October 29, 1768, setting forth its case
against Imperial Spain and Governor Ulloa. The fate of the French
rebels was already history, but the sentiments expressed in the document
might be cheered by Englishmen (when aimed at Spain), and its evi-
dence might serve to raise British interest in the acquisition of New
Orleans at a moment when the dispute over the Falkland Islands made
Anglo-Spanish relations exceedingly brittle. The Critical Review found
this portion of the book "extremely curious" and the events "but little
Pittman's narrative and description contain much of interest when
studied in conjunction with his plat of the city. This work was com-
pleted while Pittman awaited the arrival of Farmar's expedition at
New Orleans and was finished by March 27, 1765. The original is a small
colored piece which displays considerable artistry as well as that pre-
cision which is maintained in Thomas Kitchin's engraving.112 While he
was in New Orleans, Pittman gathered the available French surveys of
the region and began preparing a general map of the lower South, from
the Balize to the River Margot (Wolf River, Memphis, Tennessee), and
from Fort Toulouse (in central Alabama) to Nachitoches (in western
Louisiana). This project was unfinished as of March 27, 1765, but was
probably the Draught of French Louisiana which was forwarded to
Gage on June 22, 1765. Pittman declared that he had taken the main-
land from the work of French engineers, the Gulf Coast from his own
At the Iberville, Pittman came into his own. His survey of February
12-March 5, 1765, produced several drawings of real beauty and crafts-
manship. "A plan of Point Ibberville," done February 20-21, is a small
colored map of the western section of the Iberville River; it shows
the location of the storehouse and Negro huts that Campbell had erected
in the fall of 1764, and a towpath which he had cleared on the north
side of the river as far as Anatamaha. Pittman's draught also details


in three cross sections the manner in which the channel was blocked by
logs and debris in the spring of 1765.114 In addition, Pittman prepared
"A plan of the Ibberville from the Mississippi to Anatamaha," a colored
strip-map tracing the river to the junction of the Amite, indicating
distances and water depths and locating the Indian village.115 Pittman's
survey was completed with his "Draught of the passage from lake
Pontchartrain to the river Missisippi" which was one of the series of
maps sent to General Gage on March 27, 1765. It is an extensive colored
strip-map, more full and exact than that published in The Present State
as "Draught of the R. Ibbeville." Among other things it demonstrates
that Pittman followed his own sailing directions and did not investigate
the south side of Lake Maurepas.116
These and Pittman's other drawings were accompanied by written re-
ports which he used almost verbatim when preparing the text of The
Present State. Comparison of original manuscripts and printed text dis-
closes numerous verbal changes of no importance, frequently nothing
more than the reversal of words or phrases. It is interesting, however,
to note that Pittman consistently incorporated the letter "r" in "Ibber-
ville" which his publisher as consistently omitted. When he prepared
this report for General Gage, Pittman did not know or failed to note the
northerly extent of the Amite River. He did, on the other hand, identify
the land which divided the Grand and Petit Massiac (or Manchac) chan-
nels as San Island, a name the printer probably eliminated as an error of
transcription. The same gentleman may be responsible for transposing
the bearing of the Grand Massiac to "N.W." when Pittman originally
described it as "S.W." In his report the surveyor remarked that Tagoul-
asay (or Tougoulousa, as he spelled it) was the lowest point of land
along the course of the river, yet with high water it flooded only one
foot, in contrast with Anatamaha where floodwaters rose eight feet
and contributed to a deep and extensive swamp which extended nearly
to the Mississippi. In 1765, Pittman had been severely critical of Camp-
bell's work; he had reported to Gage that it would take a hundred men
four months to construct a decent road from the Mississippi to the head
of navigation on the Iberville. Perhaps, when he sat down to describe
the history of the Iberville post from 1765 to 1768, he had mellowed a
Pittman's leisurely journey up the Mississippi enabled him to draft
an exceptionally fine chart of the river's course,11 but his official duties
lay on the eastern bank of the river, and he did not comment to Gage
upon the French settlements described in The Present State. Some of the



information he published was certainly an eyewitness report, but his
account of "Pelousas" or Opelousa must have been secured from French
informants. Natchez, however, was a post of great interest to a British
military engineer and, though he found the expedition's stay there all
too brief, Pittman carefully sketched the French Fort Rosalie and com-
piled a meticulous account of its condition. In mounting from the river-
bank to the fort, he encountered even greater difficulty than the printed
text suggests. The buildings, which he measured, were in worse condi-
tion than The Present State would imply, and a second barracks was
"entirely Destroy'd." He also reported that "the Picquetted outwork ap-
pears to me too Extensive, and is in many parts void of design-'tis at
present Mostly burnt down, and 'twas with difficulty I could trace them
out, being overgrown with high Weeds and Bushes as are the Ditch,
Ramparts, and every other part of the Fort." The historical notices of
Natchez were added for the edification of English readers in 1770, and
Pittman deleted those particulars of his original report which had been
affected by subsequent British occupation of the fort.1"9
When reporting upon "The Post of Arcansas" in 1765, Pittman had
difficulty describing the exact location of this flood-plagued fort. All de-
pended on the level of the great river, and "when the Missisippi is at
its utmost height the Lands are overflow'd upwards of five feet; for this
reason all the buildings are rais'd Six feet from the Ground.""12
The traveler's next concern was Fort Chartres, though he would in-
terpose his reports on "Cascasquias" (Kaskaskia) and "La Praire de
Roches" when he put together the text of The Present State. He had not
visited these settlements when he dispatched the results of his Mississippi
River observations to Gage in December 1765. In view of his residence
at Fort Chartres from December 1765 to March 1767, Pittman's de-
scription of that post is disappointing. But then, so was Fort Chartres!
Although the walls were fifteen feet high, he told Gage, they "have not
Substance to bear the Shock" of firing the guns. "This Oblig'd the
french to Mount two Guns over the Gate facing the River to fire on
particular occasions and by this Means have disfigured the principal
Ornament of the Fort as they have broke away the Top of the Wall in
two places by way of Embrasures." The fort was already endangered
by the river, and Pittman noted that the French garrison had thought
to save it by the costly and difficult process of digging a channel through
the sandbank that turned the current of the Mississippi toward the base
of its walls.
Three particular touches in The Present State reflect the turmoil that



swept around Pittman and Farmar at Fort Cavendish. During the
years of his residency Pittman consistently referred to the place as Fort
Cavendish, the name bestowed by Robert Farmar; nowhere in his book
does he allow that name to appear. Nor can one read Pittman's account
of "the arbitrary governor of this country" under the French regime
without imagining that Major Farmar was constantly in the author's
thoughts. Finally, when he came to write The Present State, Philip Pitt-
man included a description of the four dungeons in the prison-a part
of the establishment he had not thought to mention to General Gage.121
The printed descriptions of the other Illinois and Mississippi settle-
ments derive from Pittman's subsequent travels in the area. Between
December 17, 1765, and February 24, 1766, he visited Kaskaskia and
Prairie du Rocher and formed somewhat different impressions of the
former than appear in The Present State. Originally, he placed the
source of the river a hundred leagues northwest of the town, rather
than sixty leagues northeast, where it properly lies. He remarked that
M. Paget's two mills, one for corn and one for planks (the printed text
is consistently misleading with regard to the nature and number of
frontier watermills), were no longer in use as the inhabitants were
afraid of another Cherokee raid. As for Kaskaskia itself, "The Village
takes up a Deal of ground and the houses are very much Scatter'd, ev'ry
inhabitant having rather considered personal convenience than the ne-
cessity of proximity in a place liable to the depradations of the Savages.
The losses they have suffered of late from the Indians both in horses
and horn'd Cattle as well as the personal insults offered them has made
them see their error."
The fort, across the river from the village, neatly sketched in Pitt-
man's "Plan," was a piece of engineering folly in a state of total dis-
repair. It contained only a barracks and kitchen, no gun platforms; one
bastion had fallen down; the parapet was rotten; there were no locks
for the gates; and the outworks were "entirely overgrown with Bushes."
But that mattered little, for "the Fort is commanded even by musquetry
from rising grounds both to the NW and NE!" It was slight loss when
the fort burned later in the year.122
The settlements of Cahokia (Kaoquia), St. Louis (Paincourt), Prairie
du Rocher, St. Phillippe, and Ste. Genevieve required little comment in
1766 and no significant correction in 1770. Pittman used his earlier re-
ports to Gage without noteworthy changes. His visits in August 1766,
with Gordon and Hutchins, seem to have added nothing to his view of the
Illinois but perhaps enabled Pittman to complete the mapping of Kas-


kaskia.123 The concluding sections of The Present State consist of general
observations reflecting only a few pertinent and prejudiced opinions re-
garding the poverty of the Indians and the superstitions of the French
The reception of The Present State of the European Settlements was
cordial, appreciative, but for the most part restrained. The London
Magazine granted that it was "an article of importance, executed with
considerable judgement and fidelity."124 The Monthly Review thought it
"accurate and worthy of attention" but damned the author with faint
praise: "If we cannot commend his narration and his style, we must yet
observe, that he has every where expressed himself with perspicuity."
The reviewer then proceeded to fill his allotted space by quoting at
length from Pittman's book.125 Only the Critical Review suggested that
the work might be destined to enjoy a lasting place in the literature of
the world's historic frontiers: "Near two thousand years ago the banks
of the Rhine and Danube were in the same condition that the banks of
the Missisippi are at present. Desert, uncultivated; the few inhabitants,
wandering tribes of savages and barbarous nations, with here and there
a post or small establishment of Romans. Some centuries hence, what
the Banks of the Rhine and Danube are now, those of the Missisippi
will in all probability be. A description of the former, written at that
time by a Roman officer, would be accounted in these days a most curious
remain of antiquity. It would afford the judicious reasoner an excellent
opportunity of making observations on the wonderful alterations which
time and the art and industry of man produce upon the face of nature.
So, in the same manner, a few centuries hence, when those deserts,
through which the Missisippi now runs, are become fully cultivated,
and the seat of a mighty empire, the work now under our consideration
will be accounted a precious and curious relick."'12 The historical judg-
ment rings true two hundred years later; the thought was worthy of Ed-
ward Gibbon-and sufficient tribute to Philip Pittman.

Auburn University



CP Clarence W. Alvord and Clarence E. Carter, eds. The Critical Period 1763-
1765. Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, vol. 10. British
Series, vol. 1 (Springfield, 1915).
GP Papers of General Thomas Gage. William L. Clements Library, University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor.
HT Papers of Brigadier General Frederick Haldimand. Transcripts in the
Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa.
NR Clarence W. Alvord and Clarence E. Carter, eds. The New Regime 1765-1767.
Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, vol. 11. British Series, vol.
2 (Springfield, 1916).

1. Critical Review 30 (1770) :368.
2. Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Co., in a limited, numbered edition of five
hundred copies.
3. Amherst to Robertson, New York, August 24, 1763, Amherst Papers, William L.
Clements Library. Hodder erred in thinking that Pittman went to West Florida with
the occupation forces (p. 9).
4. Pittman to Gage, July 22, 1765, GP. Christian Brun, Guide to the Manuscript
Maps in the William L. Clements Library (Ann Arbor, 1959), p. 27.
5. The Army Lists for 1761, 1763, and 1764-70, used by Hodder, are inaccurate and
confusing. Robert J. Jones, A History of the 15th (East Yorkshire) Regiment, 1685-
1914 (Beverley, Yorkshire, 1958), pp. 177, 181, is based upon the regimental muster
6. On Robertson's mission and Pittman's activities, see Robertson's letters to Gen-
eral Amherst and Colonel Amherst, September 26, October 17, November 15, 1763,
Amherst Papers.
7. Pittman to Amherst, December 13, 1763, Amherst Papers. Loftus to Gage,
August 17, 1764, GP. Robertson to Gage, March 8, 1764, CP, p. 217.
8. See pp. 10-11 in the Pittman text.
9. For a more complete account of the Loftus expedition, see Robert R. Rea, "As-
sault on the Mississippi-the Loftus Expedition," Alabama Review 26 (1973).
10. Loftus to Gage, August 17, 1764, GP.
11. On the problem of desertion, see Robert R. Rea, "Military Deserters from
British West Florida," Louisiana History 9 (1968).
12. Farmar to Gage, April 3, 1764, GP. D'Abbadie's Journal, CP, pp. 177-79.
13. Gage to Loftus, June 14, 18, 1764; Gage to Farmar, June 21, 1764, GP.
14. Gage to Pittman, March 29, 1764, GP.
15. Gage to Farmar, May 20, 1764, GP.
16. Farmar to Gage, August 7, 1764, GP.
17. Farmar to D'Abbadie, June 12, 1764, CP, pp. 264-65.
18. D'Abbadie's Journal and D'Abbadie to Farmar, June 22, 1764, CP, pp. 189, 265-
19. Pittman to D'Abbadie, July 6, 1764; D'Abbadie to Pittman, July 8, 1764, GP.
20. Pittman to Farmar, July 10, 1764, GP.
21. D'Abbadie's Journal and Address to the Tunica Indians, July 14, 1764, CP,
pp. 190-93, 285-87.
22. Pittman to Farmar, July 10, 1764, GP.
23. Pittman evidently carried this letter back to Mobile. It was given to Lieutenant
John Ross who delivered it to St. Ange at Fort Chartres by following a route similar


to that outlined by Pittman. St. Ange to D'Abbadie, February 21, 1765, CP, pp. 439-
24. Pittman to Gage, January 1, 1765, GP.
25. Pittman's Address to the Illinois Traders, August 12, 1764, CP, pp. 297-99.
26. Ibid.
27. D'Abbadie's Journal, CP, pp. 194-95.
28. D'Abbadie to Gage, August 16, 1764, GP. D'Abbadie to the Minister, September
10, 1764, CP, pp. 308-12.
29. Gage to Pittman, November 16, 1764; Pittman to Gage, January 6, 1765, GP.
Gage to Halifax, November 9, 1764, CP, p. 351.
30. Campbell to Gage, August 20, 1764, GP.
31. Pittman to Gage, January 1, 1765, GP. Hodder, p. 10, follows Francis Parkman,
History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac, 3d ed. (Boston, 1863), p. 533. Parkman's in-
accurate and unflattering account of Pittman's efforts to get up the Mississippi is
based solely upon the French documents and naturally reflects D'Abbadie's hostility.
32. Farmar to the Treasury, November 7, 1764, Treasury Papers 1/430:231
(Library of Congress Transcripts). On the Indian diplomacy of this period, see Milo
B. Howard, Jr., and Robert R. Rea, The Memoire Justificatif of the Chevalier Mon-
tault de Monberaut (University, Ala., 1965).
33. Pittman to Gage, January 6, 1765, GP.
34. Gage to Pittman, June 19, 1764, GP. Gage subsequently directed that Pittman
should receive pay as an "extraordinary Engineer." Gage to Pittman, January 7,
1765, GP.
35. Johnstone to Sir John Lindsay, December 10, 1764; Johnstone to Farmar, De-
cember 23, 1764, GP. Council Minutes, January 7, 1765, Colonial Office Transcripts,
Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Ala.
36. Pittman to Farmar, December 23, 1764; Farmar to Pittman, December 24, 1764,
GP. Farmar did forward Pittman's request for compensation for expenses at New
Orleans: Farmar to Gage, December 21, 1764, GP. West Florida Council Minutes,
January 7, 1765, State Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Ala.
37. Johnstone to Gage, January 2, 1765, GP.
38. Pittman to Gage, January 1, 1765, February 10, 1765, GP; these clarify Pitt-
man's itinerary. His transportation is charged against the sloop James, in Treasury
Papers 1/440:115 (Library of Congress Transcripts), a reflection of Farmar's rather
casual accounting practices. See also Farmar to Gage, January 17, 1765, GP.
39. Douglas S. Brown, "The Iberville Canal Project," Mississippi Valley Historical
Review 32 (1946) :491-516, is based upon the Gage Papers, but it is imprecise and
inaccurate concerning the work of Campbell and Pittman.
40. Campbell to Gage, August 20, 1764, December 10, 1764; Campbell to Farmar,
October 29, 1764; Farmar to Gage, September 24, 1764, GP. Bertram Wallace Korn,
The Early Jews of New Orleans (Waltham, Mass., 1969), p. 22, cites a letter from
Isaac Monsanto to Farmar, January 23, 1765, that dates Pittman's arrival but sug-
gests that he did not travel with Campbell. On Dupart, see West Florida Council
Minutes, January 7, 1765, State Department of Archives and History, Montgomery,
41. Campbell to Gage, February 8, 1765; Pittman to Gage, March 27, 1765, GP.
42. Campbell to Gage, February 8, 1765, GP.
43. The names of all the members of the party are found in Treasury Papers
1/440:114 (Library of Congress Transcripts).
44. Pittman to Farmar, March 8, 1765; Affidavit of Sgt. Fetherby et al., April 11,
1765; Sgt. John Parker's Return of Negroes at Point Iberville; Pittman to Gage,
July 22, 1765, GP.
45. Campbell to Farmar, March 8, 26, 1765; Campbell to Gage, June 20, 1765; David
Wedderburn to Gage, May 7, 1765, GP.
46. Farmar to Gage, March 24, 1765, GP.
47. Pittman to Gage, March 27, 1765, GP.
48. Wedderburn to Gage, May 7, 1765; Pittman to Gage, July 22, 1765, GP.



49. Pittman to Gage, July 22, 1765; Aubry to Pittman, May 15, 1765; Farmar to
John Stuart, May 31, 1765, GP.
50. Pittman to Gage, March 20, 1766, GP.
51. Ibid., July 22, 1765, GP.
52. Ibid., August 17, 1765, GP.
53. Memorial of Lieuts. Henry, Sedgwick, Ford, and Ens. Robinson, January 10,
1766, GP.
54. This account of Farmar's expedition is taken from Campbell to Gage, August
16, 1765; Pittman to Gage, August 17, 1765; Stirling to Gage, December 15, 1765,
GP. Farmar to Ellis, Farmar to Gage, August 12, 1765, War Office Papers 1/6:265,
531. See also Treasury Papers 1/440:109, 111; 448:264, 276. Farmar to Stuart, De-
cember 16, 1765, NR, pp. 127-29.
55. Pittman to Gage, December 17, 1765, GP.
56. Ibid., February 24, 1766; Farmar to Pittman, Pittman to Farmar, December
13, 1765, GP.
57. Gage to Farmar, Gage to Pittman, March 12, 1766, GP.
58. Farmar to Gage, March 18, 1766, GP.
59. Pittman to Gage, March 20, 1766, GP.
60. Either May 7 or 17, the documents are not clear. Alvord and Carter could
not place him at Fort Cavendish before July 4, NR, pp. 372-73n2.
61. Proceedings of the Court Martial, in Reed to Gage, June 9, 1766; Pittman to
Gage, June 18, 1766; Farmar to Gage, May 24, 1766, GP.
62. Pittman to Gage, June 18, 1766; Reed to Gage, June 19, 1766, GP.
63. Gage to Bouquet, May 23, 1765, GP.
64. Gage to Pittman, July 7, 1766, GP.
65. Gage to Farmar, August 23, 1766, GP.
66. Gage to Pittman, September 15, 1766, GP.
67. Gage to Tayler, October 4, 1766; Gage to Reed, October 6, 1766; Gage to Pitt-
man, October 6, 1766, GP.
68. Croghan to Gage, September 10, 1766; Pittman to Gage, November 20, 1766,
GP. Gordon's Journal, NR, pp. 298-99.
69. Gordon's Journal, NR, pp. 299-300.
70. Ibid., p. 301. On Hutchins, see Joseph G. Tregle, Jr., "Introduction" to Thomas
Hutchins, An Historical Narrative and Topographical Description of Louisiana and
West-Florida (Floridiana Facsimile Series, Gainesville, 1968), and the Ph.D. disser-
tation of Anna M. Quattrocchi, "Thomas Hutchins 1730-1789" (University of Pitts-
burgh, 1944). To an even greater extent than Tregle suggests, Hutchins' "debt to
Pittman is quite heavy, whole sections of Hutchins' text being literal transcrip-
tions of passages in his predecessor's work" (xlii-xliii).
71. Pittman to Gage, November 20, 1766, GP.
72. Proceedings of a Court Martial, November 27, 1766, NR, pp. 434-37.
73. Matthew Clarkson's Diary, NR, p. 362.
74. Pittman to Gage, February 10, 1767, GP.
75. Reed to Gage, April 3, 1767, GP. Matthew Clarkson's Diary, NR, p. 363.
76. Pittman drew 297 12s. as assistant engineer in West Florida for the period
March 24, 1767, to July 31, 1768; Warrant of William Forman, January 20, 1769,
GP (Warrants). Pittman to Haldimand, April 21, 1767; Haldimand to Gage, April
31 [sic], 1767, GP.
77. Haldimand to Governor James Grant, June 12, 1767; Haldimand to Gage, June
16, 1767, HT.
78. Haldimand to Gage, August 5, 1767, HT. The documents were printed by Mark
F. Boyd, "Apalachee during the British Occupation," Florida Historical Quarterly
12 (1933-34) :114-22. Boyd added to Pittman's signature the initials "R[oyal]
Engineerss" which Pittman never claimed. Hodder, p. 12, imagined that Apalachee
was at the head of Mobile Bay!
79. Haldimand to Gage, August 5, 1767, GP. Original in the William L. Clements
Library Map Collection, Ann Arbor.


80. Haldimand to Gage, June 16, 1767; Farmar to Haldimand, July 1, 1767, HT.
Haldimand to Gage, November 28, 1767, GP.
81. Haldimand to Gage, September 1, 1767, GP, HT.
82. Marsh to Haldimand, November 19, 1767, GP. Haldimand to Gage, October 30,
1767, HT.
83. Governor James Grant to Haldimand, February 22, 1768, HT.
84. Haldimand to Gage, October 30, 1767, GP.
85. Ibid., November 28, 1767, January 16, 1768, February 28, 1768; Charles Stuart
to Haldimand, December 16, 1767, March 24, 1768, HT. Haldimand to Pittman, No-
vember 16, 1767, GP. Robert R. Rea, "The Trouble at Tombeckby," Alabama Review
21 (1968). Pittman secured from two Indians a verbal description of the "Road from
Tombecbe to Alibamous" which is in HT. On July 20, 1769, the American Philosophi-
cal Society of Philadelphia received from Daniel Clark of West Florida "A draft of
the River Mississippi from the mouth up to Fort Chartres" and "A draft of the River
Mobille from the bay of Mobille to Fort Tombecbe from actual surveys by Philip
Pilman [sic] in 1767"; Early Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society
(Philadelphia, 1884), p. 42. (I am indebted to Professor Jack D. L. Holmes for this
reference.) John Stuart remarked that Bernard Romans' map of the Tombecb6 was
much like Pittman's. J. Stuart to [Haldimand, Mobile, 1772], HT.
86. Browne to Haldimand, February 9, February 17, 1768, HT.
87. Farmar told Haldimand that he remained at New Orleans for fear Johnstone
would imprison him; he also claimed (apparently with some truth) that certain legal
proceedings in New Orleans detained him. Haldimand to Gage, June 6, 1767, HT.
88. Gage to Haldimand, February 9, 1768, GP.
89. Francis Hutcheson was Haldimand's very competent adjutant, but he was an
inexperienced judge advocate and was forced to depend upon the unofficial advice of
the elderly and bibulous Captain Vignolles during Farmar's trial. Haldimand to Gage,
April 29, 1768, GP.
90. Articles of Accusation given in by Lieut. Pittman against Maj. Farmar, in
Gage to Haldimand, May 1, 1767, GP.
91. Farmar Court Martial Proceedings, Judge Advocate's Office (London), August
10, 1768; Haldimand to Gage, April 20, 1768, GP.
92. Haldimand to Gage, April 20, 29, 1768; Gage to Haldimand, April 29, May 23,
June 26, 1768, GP. Hutcheson to Farmar, August 24, 1768, HT.
93. Gage to Pittman, May 31, 1767, GP.
94. Gage to Haldimand, April 29, June 27, 1768, GP.
95. The William L. Clements Map Collection holds a "Plan of the environs of St.
Augustine" attributed to Pittman and tentatively dated 1768. If the attribution is
correct, it probably pinpoints one step of Pittman's journey home. The date of his
departure may be inferred from the stoppage of his pay as of July 31, 1768. Farmar's
Memorial to Hillsborough, post November 22, 1768, C.O. 5/114:285-86 (Library of
Congress Transcripts). Farmar had other reasons for complaint: his commission in
the 34th Regiment had been sold without his knowledge of the transaction. About
January 1771, there was published the Proceedings of a General Court-Martial held
at Pensacola, in West Florida, on Wednesday, March 16, 1768, and continued till
Wednesday, April 20, 1768 (8vo. 3s. 6d. London: Johnston). Farmar's appeal to pos-
terity was sympathetically noted by the London Magazine 40 (February 1771) :104,
and the Monthly Review 44 (January 1771) :77.
96. J. E. Norton, ed., The Letters of Edward Gibbon (New York, 1956), 1:256n1,
260. Dorothea Gibbon possessed a miniature of Pittman done by Miss Greenland
ibidd., 3:440).
97. Gage to Haldimand, October 30, 1770, HT.
98. Norton, Letters of Edward Gibbon, 1:260.
99. Henry Davison Love, Indian Records Series: Vestiges of Old Madras 1640-
1800 (London, 1913), 3:54.
100. Ibid., p. 9.
101. Norton suggests that C. G. G. Pittman, a cadet in the Indian Army in 1789,


may have been Philip Pittman's son. The chronology fits. The younger Pittman died
in 1800. Letters of Edward Gibbon, 3:440.
102. Norton, Letters of Edward Gibbon, 1:380-81, 383; 2:4. Miss Norton's identifi-
cation of "Johnson" as the great Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the north, Sir
William Johnson of Johnson Hall, Mohawk Valley, New York, is clearly in error.
Pittman would obviously seek the aid of the East Indian Johnstones, one of whom
he considered to be a friend.
103. Love, Old Madras, 3:345.
104. Norton, Letters of Edward Gibbon, 3:84.
105. Gage to Haldimand, October 30, 1770, HT.
106. See Robert R. Rea, "Graveyard for Britons," Florida Historical Quarterly
47 (1969); Laura D. S. Harrell, "Colonial Medical Practice in British West Florida,
1763-1781," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 41 (1967); and generally Robert R.
Rea, "Pensacola under the British (1763-1781)," in Colonial Pensacola, ed. James
R. McGovern (Pensacola, 1972).
107. Critical Review 30 (November 1770) :370.
108. Johnstone's verbosity is amply demonstrated by his correspondence in Dun-
bar Rowland, ed., Mississippi Provincial Archives, English Dominion, 1 (Nashville,
1911); his contribution to The Georgia Gazette (January 10, 1765) may be found
in Colonial Pensacola, pp. 83-85.
109. Pittman to Gage, March 27, 1765, GP. The draughts are in the William L.
Clements Library Map Collection.
110. Pittman's description may be compared with that of John Blankett in Robert
R. Rea, "A Naval Visitor in British West Florida," Florida Historical Quarterly 40
111. Critical Review 30 (November 1770) :370. On the New Orleans revolt, see the
classic History of Louisiana by Charles Gayarr6, 4th ed. (New Orleans, 1903), 2:115
ff., and the recent works of John Preston Moore, "Antonio de Ulloa: A Profile of the
First Spanish Governor of Louisiana," Louisiana History 8 (1967) :189-218, and
"Revolt in Louisiana: A Threat to Franco-Spanish Amistad," in Spain and Her
Rivals on the Gulf Coast, eds. Ernest F. Dibble and Earle W. Newton (Pensacola,
1971), pp. 40-55.
112. Pittman to Gage, March 27, 1765, GP. The original is in the William L.
Clements Library Map Collection.
113. Ibid., and Pittman to Gage, June 22, 1765, GP. This map is unknown, but per-
haps it contributed to the "Course of the River Mississippi from the Balize to Fort
Chartres; Taken on an Expedition to the Illinois, in the latter end of the Year 1765.
By Lieut. [John] Ross of the 34th Regiment: Improved from the Surveys of that
River made by the French" (London: Printed for Robert Sayer, June 1, 1772). Copy
in the Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans.
114. Two copies are in the William L. Clements Map Collection.
115. William L. Clements Map Collection.
116. Ibid.
117. "Description of the Massiac part of the River Amit and the River Ibber-
ville," in Farmar to Gage, March 30, 1765, GP. See pp. 27-30.
118. "A draught of the river Missisippi. From the Balise to Fort Cavendish. Taken
in the months of June November on a passage to the Illinois in the year
1765." Original in the William L. Clements Library Map Collection. Pittman also did
"A sketch of the river Missisippi from New Orleans to the rock of Davion" which
may have been sketched on the Loftus expedition of 1764. The copy by W. Brasier
provides no clues.
119. "Description of Natches and State and Condition of the Fort," in Pittman to
Gage, December 17, 1765, GP. See pp. 37-39.
120. "Description of the Post of Arcansas," ibid. See pp. 40-41.
121. "Description of Fort Chartres," ibid. See pp. 45-46.
122. "Description of Cascasquias," in Pittman to Gage, February 24, 1766, GP.
See pp. 42-43.


123. Ibid. See pp. 48-50. "A plan of Cascasquias" was sent to Gage, November 20,
1766, GP. The original is in the William L. Clements Library Map Collection.
124. London Magazine 39 (December 1770) :632.
125. Monthly Review 44 (January 1771) :9-12.
126. Critical Review 30 (November 1770) :368-74.

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By Captain PHILIP


Printed for J. NOUR SE, Bookfeller to His MAJESTY.
2 *)-


T HE European settlements on the river Miffifippi
comprehend Louifiana, part of Weft Florida, and
the country of the Illinois. Five years residence as
an engineer in thofe countries, during which time I was
chiefly employed in furveying and exploring their in-
terior parts, and an acquaintance with the principal in-
habitants, enables me to fpeak with at leaft as much
authority as any author who has hitherto wrote on the
fame fubje&.

Louifiana is no longer the fame as in the time of Pere
Hennepin; and all other authors that I have read on this
fubje& rather abound with Indian flories and talks, than
with ufeful information.

Father Charlevoix made fo rapid a progrefs through
thofe countries, that the greatest part of what he advances
muft be from the doubtful information of others, and not
from his own personal knowledge. Neither is the reader
recompenfed by the fmall quantity of pure ore he can
extract from that mafs of drofs, in the elaborate accounts
of Le Page du Pratz.

It may be thought extraordinary that I have confined
my accounts to the banks of the Miflifippi, and not touched
on the other parts of Weft Florida, which may be fuppofed
equally interesting.

This work was originally wrote at the request, and for
the perufal only, of the secretary of fate for the colonies ;
4 and

vi P R E F A C E.
and I imagined that he muft have received every informa-
tion neceffary to form a perfect knowledge of that pro-
vince, from perfons who have commanded in it. Besides,
my ingenious friend governor Johnftone has told me, that
he intends foon to publish a book on this fubje f; by which
means the deficiency in mine will be amply made up, and
the public will have the advantage of receiving inftrudion
and entertainment from a much more pleading and
abler pen.

I am furprifed that nobody has yet attempted to wipe
off the unfavourable impreffions that have taken place in
the minds of many people, from the unjuft reports
made of the climate of Weft Florida, and which flill re-
tards the fettling of that fine country. A regard for truth,
and a defire to render service to that valuable province, the
welfare of which has been obftruded by ignorance and
mifreprefentation, makes me take this occafion to fhew
the true caufes of its fuppofed unhealthinefs.

Penfacola and Mobile have both proved fatal to our
troops; the former from mismanagement, the latter from
its situation. When we took poffeffion of Penfacola, in
the latter end of the year I 76 3, it confifted of a fort and
a few ftraggling houfes ; the fort was conltru&ed of high
ftockades, enclofing in a very fmall fpace a houfe for the
governor, and several miserable huts, built with pieces of
bark, covered with the fame materials, and moft of
them without floors ; fo that in the summer they were as
hot as fioves, and the land engendered all forts of ver-
min: in thefe wretched habitations the officers and
soldiers dwelt.


P R E F A C E. vii

After we had poffeflion fome time, the commandant,
with a view of making the fortification more refpedable,
surrounded the fort with a ditch; which, in fadt, could
answer no other purpose, than holding a quantity of
flagnated water to empoifon the little air that could
find its way into the garrifon. The thirty-firft regiment
of foot, which suffered remarkably from ficknefs and
mortality in this place, was fent to it in the hotter part
of the fummer of 1765, unprovided with every thing
neceffary to preserve health in fuch a fudden change of
climate. Brigadier-general Haldimand, in the beginning
of 1767, immediately after his arrival here, caused the
enceinte of the fort to be considerably extended, widened
the streets, removed every thing that could obftrut a free
circulation of air, and laid the place open to the fea, to
give admiffion to the breezes, The enfuing fummer was
exceffive hot, the thermometer having rofe to one hundred
and fourteen degrees ; yet, by the falutary precautions the
general had taken, the troops were remarkably healthy,
few fell fick, and fcarce any died; although their lodgings,
which of themselves may be fuppofed sufficient to destroy
a good constitution, were little improved: from hence I
prefume that Penfacola is as healthy as any Englifh fettle.
ment in the southern provinces of North America.

Mobile is fituated on the bank s of the river of that
name, juft at the place where the frefh and falt waters
mix; when the tide goes out it leaves an abundance of
fmall fiflies on the marches which lie opposite the town,
and the heat of the fun in fummer kills the fifth; and the
fiench of them, of the ftagnated water in the neighboring
fwamps, and the flimy mud, render the air putrid. To

P R E F A C E.

this may be added, that the water of the wells is brackish,
and there is none to be found wholfome within lefs than one
mile and a half of the place. The twenty-firft regiment of
foot was fent to Mobile at the fame time that the thirty-flrfj
regiment garrifoned Penfacola, and being equally unpro-
vided with things neceffary for troops newly arrived from
Europe, and unfeafoned to fuch a climate, suffered almost
as much. I hall only add on this fubjef, which is a
little diftant from the true intent of my preface, that Weft
Florida poffeffes the greatest advantage, as to its situation
for commerce, and the communications to the different
parts are rendered eafy by fine navigable rivers, the banks
of which are covered by a frefh luxuriant foil, capable of
producing every thing natural to thefe climates.

I have endeavoured to be as concife as poffible; indeed
the purpose it was wrote for seemed to demand it: I could
with eafe have been much more diffufe on fubjets in which
fo much matter is contained.

It is with fear and diffidence that I prefume to appear
as an author; but a defire of communicating what I have
been affured by friends would be of ufe to the public,
has been my only inducement ; and if they have judged
right, my utmoft wishes will be amply gratified.


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Of the River M IB5ISIPPI.

TH E river Miffifippi has been known by a variety of names
the firft discoverers from Canada gave it the name of Col-
bert, in honour to that great minister, who was then in
power. The famous adventurer, Monfieur de Salle, when he dif-
covered the mouth, called it the river Saint Louis, by which name
it has ever been diftinguithed in all public acs, refpeding the
province of Louiffianna: But its present general appellation of
Miffifippi is a corruption of Metchafippi; by which name it is fill
known to the Northern Savages, that word fignifying, in their lan-
guage, the Father of Rivers.

Nothing can, with propriety, be affected with refpe& to the
force of this river, tho' there are people fill existing, who pretend
to have been there. The accounts, which I think should be paid
moft attention to, are thofe which have been given by the Sioux, a
B very

_ I__ _~~ _

very numerous itinerant nation of Indians, who generally refide in
the countries North of the Miffifippi: A few of them have fome-
times come to the French poft, on the River Illinois, to barter
fkins and furrs; but in general they diflike the Europeans, and have
little inclination to be much acquainted with them. Their account
is as follows: The river Mififippi rifes from a very extensive
fwamp, and its waters are encreafed by several rivers (fome of them
not inconfiderable) emptying themselves into it in its course to the
fall of St. Anthony, which, by their accounts, is not lefs than even
hundred leagues from the great fwamps: This is formed by a
rock running a-crofs the river, and falls about twelve feet perpendi-
cular; and this place is known to be eight hundred leagues from the
fea. So that it is moft probable that the Miffilippi runs, at leaft,
four thousand five hundred miles.

The principal rivers which fall into the Miffifippi, below the fall
of St. Anthony, are, the river St. Pierrc, which comes from the
Weft; Saint Croix, from the Eaf ; Moingona, which is two hun-
dred and fifty leagues below the fall, comes from the Weft, and is
faid to run one hundred and fifty leagues; and the river Illinois, the
force of which is near the lake Michigan, Eaft of the Miffifippi
two hundred leagues.

The force of the river Miffoury is unknown ; the French traders
go betwixt three and four hundred leagues up, to traffic with the In-
dians who inhabit near its banks, and this branch of commerce is
very considerable it employs annually eight thousand pounds worth
of European goods, including a fmall quantity of rum, of all which
the freight amounts to about one hundred per cent. Their returns
are, at leaft, at the rate of three hundred per cent. fo that they are
certain of two hundred per cent. profit. The mouth of this great
river is five leagues below the river Illinois, and is generally called
five hundred from the fea, tho' in fa&t it is not more than four hun-
dred and fifty. From its confluence, to its force is fuppofed to be

eight hundred leagues, running from the north-weft to the fouth-
eaft. The muddy waters of the Miffoury prevail over thofe of the
Miffifippi, running with violent rapidity to the ocean. The Miffifip-
pi glides with a gentle and clear fiream, 'till it meets with this inter-
ruption. The next river of note, is the Ohio or Belle Riviere ; it
empties itself about feventy leagues below the Miffoury: its force
is near the lake Erie, running from the north-eaft to the fouth-weft,
upwards of four hundred leagues.

Ninety leagues further down is the river Saint Francis, on the
weft fide of the Miffifippi: this is a very fmall river, and is remark-
able for nothing but being the general rendez-vous of the hunters from
New Orleans, who winter there, and make a provision of falted
meats, fuet, and bears oil, for the fupply of that city. The river
Arkanfas is thirty-five leagues lower down, and two hundred from
New Orleans; it is fo called from a nation of Indians of the fame
name; its force is faid to be in the fame latitude as Santa Fe in
New Mexico, and holds its course near three hundred leagues.

The river Yazous comes from the north-eaft, and discharges it-
felf into the Miffifippi, fixty leagues from the Arkanfas: formerly
a nation of Indians of the fame name had their villages on it,
and there was a French poft and settlement. The nation is en-
tirely extin6t, and there is not the left trace of any settlement.

It is near fixty leagues from this little river to the river Rouge,
which is fo called from its waters, being of a reddish colour, and
they tinge thofe of the Miffifippi at the time of the floods; its
force is in New Mexico, and it runs about two hundred leagues:
the river Noir empties itself into this river about ten leagues from
its confluence. The famous Ferdinand Soto ended his discoveries
at the entrance of the river Rouge, and was buried there.


Near feventy leagues up this river is a very considerable poft, be-
longing to the French; it is a frontier on the Spanifh settlements,
being twenty miles from the Fort of Adaies. The French fort is
garrifoned by a captain, two fubalterns, and about fifty men : there
are forty families, confifting moftly of discharged soldiers, and fome
merchants who trade with the Spaniards. A great quantity of to-
bacco is cultivated at this port, and fells for a good price at New
Orleans, being held in great efteem: they fend alfo fome peltry,
which they receive in trade from the neighboring Indians.

From the river Rouge to the fea, there are only fome fall brooks,
of no account. The Bayouk of Peloufas, which is about three
miles from the river Rouge and the river Ibberville, are described
in the account hereafter given of the settlements on the river Mif-

It is peculiar to the river Miffifippi, that no part of the waters
which overflow its banks, ever return to their former channel :
this is a circumstance, which I believe is not to be met with in any
other river in the world. All the lands from the river Ibbeville to
the fea, have been formed in the fucceffion of ages, by the vaft
quantities of flimy mud, trees, dead wood, and leaves which the
river brings down at its annual floods, which begin in the month of
March, by the melting of the fnow and ice in the northern parts.
This innundation continues three months. The muddy lands pro.
duce long grafs, canes, and reeds in great abundance : at the over-
flowings of the river, the grafs, canes, and reeds flop great quanti-
ties of the mud and rubbifh that defcend with the current. The
long grafs, &c. neareft the river, muft receive a greater quantity of
this rubbish than that which is more diftant, and this caufes the
bank of the Miffifippi to be higher than the interior land, and ac-
counts for the waters never returning to the river; and we may rea-
fonably fuppofe, that the lakes on each fide are parts of the fea, not
yet filled up. Thus the land is annually raised, and continually

gains on the fea. The Balize, a fall fort, erected by the French
on a little island, was, in the year 1734, at the mouth of the river;
it is now two miles up. In the year 1767, Don Antonio D'Ulloa
created fome barracks on a fmall island (to which he gave the name
of Saint Carlos) for the convenience of pilots, and other purposes,
being near the fouth-eafl entrance of the river, and a more dry and
higher situation than any thereabouts. There was not the left ap-
pearance of this island twenty years ago.

Before I quit this fubje&, I muff obferve, that on digging ten or
twelve feet in the lands I have above described, large bodies of trees
have been frequently found. The craw-fifh abound in this coun-
try; they are in every part of the earth, and when the inhabitants
chufe a di(h of them, they fend to their gardens, where they have
a fmall pond dug for that purpose, and are fure of getting as many
as they have occasion for. A di(h of fhrimps is as eafily procured
by hanging a fmall canvas bag with a bit of meat in it, to the bank
of the river, and letting it drop a little below the surface of the wa-
ter; in a few hours a fufficient quantity will have got into the bag.
Shrimps are found in the Miffifippi as far as Natches, which is near
one hundred and thirty leagues from the fea.

I have before mentioned, that the river-water is remarkably mud-
dy : I have filled a half-pint tumbler with it, and have found a fe-
diment of two inches of flime. It is, notwithstanding, extremely
wholefome and well tafied, and very cool in the hotteft feafons of
the year; and the rowers, who are then employed, drink of it when
they are in the firongeft perfpiration, and never receive any bad ef-
fe&s from it. The inhabitants of New Orleans ufe no other wa-
ter than that of the river, which, by keeping in a jar, becomes
perfe&ly clear.

The navigation of the Miffliippi is confined to veffels not draw-
ing above feventeen feet water, there being little more in the deep-

ell channel on the bar, which is fubjed to fhift very often; to
that a pilot is constantly employed in founding.' On every part
of the bar there is nine feet water, and fmall veffels go over it with-
out fear: frigates of thirty-fix guns have often gone through the
channel, after taking their guns out. When once a veffel has crofs-
ed the bar, the remainder of the navigation is very fafe, keeping
clear of the great trees, which float down with the current. When
winds are contrary, veffels make faft to the trees on the banks of
the river, and haul clofe, there being sufficient depth of water for
any fhip whatever. It is impoffible to anchor without being expo-
fed to the danger of the great trees which come down with the cur-
rent almost continually, but more especially at the time of the
floods, which if any of them should come athwart hawfe, would
moft probably drive in the bows of the veffel; and there is a certain-
ty of looking the anchors, as the bottom of the river is very foft
mud, covered with funk logs, and is in general at leaft fixty fa-
thoms deep, and this fort of bottom and depth continues almost as
far as the Natches; and all veffels that enter the river, can go up
within three miles of that poft.

The merchandize neceffary for the commerce to Natchitoches,
Miffoury, and in general the upper pots on or near the Miffifip-
pi, is carried by Batteaus, which are rowed by eighteen or twenty
men, and contain about forty tons burthen; they are commonly
three months going from New Orleans to the Illinois. They al-
ways go in convoys from New Orleans, and before they fet out ap-
point an officer from amongst themselves to command them; or
apply for a king's officer for that purpofe; and whenever they put
on fhore to eat their meals, or encamp for the night, they have a
regular guard mounted: they ufe thefe precautions for fear of any
attack from the Indians. The Chicafhaws formerly were very
troublesome to them. Two of thefe convoys, confifting of from


even to twelve Batteaus, go from New Orleans twice a year, viz.
in the spring and autumn.

In the spring the Miffifippi is very high; and tho' the current is
fo firong that nothing can make head against it in the middle of the
river, they have an advantage by an eddy or counter-current, which
runs in the bends, and clofe to the banks of the river, and greatly
facilitates their voyage. The current, at this feafon, runs at the
rate of fix or even miles an hour : in autumn, when the waters are
low, it in general does not run above two miles an hour, except in
fome parts of the river, above the Arkanfas, where there are a great
many iflands, fhoals, and fand-banks of fome miles circumference,
which make the voyage more dangerous, longer, and lefs expedi-
tious, than in the spring; and this makes it further neceffary, that
boats should go in convoys, that they may affift each other in cafe
of meeting with any of the accidents they are fo evidently expofed
to. Great pieces of coal are constantly found on the fand-banks,
from whence it may be concluded, that there are coal-mines on the
upper parts of the Miffifippi.


S8 ]





TO proceed with order and facility in dcfcribing the pofls
which are on the Miffifippi, and thofe which communi-
cate with that river, I hall begin with the Balize, and fo go on,
afcending the river. The ifland of Saint Carlos, of which I have
before fpoke, is near the entrance of the Miffifippi, and lies in
twenty-nine degrees north latitude, and in eighty-nine degrees ten
minutes longitude from the meridian of London: there are houses
for the refidence of an officer, twenty soldiers, a pilot, and a chap-
lain. The reason of eflablifhing this poft, is that affiftance may be
given to veffels coming into the river, and to forward intelligence
or difpatches to New Orleans: This is called the Balize as well as
the French poft, which lies two miles eaft of the entrance of the river,
and was originally built with the fame defign, and as a defence for
the mouth of the river: its situation (which is very low and
fwampy) would never admit of any ftrong fortification; but what there
was, is now gone to ruin: nothing remains but the soldiers bar-
racks, and three or four guns en barbette. From this place nothing
is to be feen but low marches, continually overflowed, till we get
within a few leagues of the Detour de L'Anglois, where there are
fome few plantations, moft of which are but very late eflablifh-
ments, and are, as yet, but of very little confequence. At the De-
tour the river forms almost a circle ; fo that veffels cannot pafs it
with the fame wind that conduaed them to it, and are obliged to
wait for a thift of wind. This gave the idea to the French, of
2 building




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building two forts at this Pafs, one on each fide of the river, to
prevent the enterprises of any enemies; for although the forts are
only enclofures of ftockades and a defence against fmall arms, the
batteries on each fide, which are of ten twelve-pounders, are more
than sufficient to flop the progrefs of any veffel, as there is no pof-
fibility of mooring nor of making a veffel faft on fhore: the impof-
fibility of mooring has been before accounted for by the description
given of the bed of the river. The going on (hore is equally impof-
fible, as the forts are on points of land, which are bounded by the
river on one fide and by fwamps on the other, fo that any attacks
against them muft prove unfuccefsful. Such is the situation of there
forts, which might besides receive continual reinforcements from
the inhabitants in their neighbourhood, and from New Orleans,
which is but feventeen miles distant. The authors who have wrote
concerning Louifiana have given many different reasons for this
place being called the Detour des Anglois; I hall give that which
appears the moft probable.

The officers who had been fent to reconoitre the Miffifippi, and
to report the propereft place to build the capital of Louifiana on,
in their return to Mobile, going down the river, faw an Englifh
brig made faft to the fhore, which curiosity had induced to go thus
far up, and was waiting for a fair wind to proceed on further difco-
veries. The plantations and the well-built houses on each fide the
river afford a very pleading and agreeable profped, which continues
till we arrive at New Orleans; and this, with a tolerable fair wind,
is an affair of about four hours.


[ Io ]


N E W ORLEANS flands on the eaft fide of the river, and
in 300. north latitude; its situation is extremely well
chofen, as it has a very eafy communication with the northern parts
of Louifiana (now Weft Florida) by means of the Bayouk of St.
John, a little creek, which is navigable for fmall veffels drawing
lefs than fix feet water, fix miles up from the lake Ponchartain,
where there is a landing-place, at which the veffels load and un-
load ; and this is about two miles from the city. The entrance of
the Bayouk of St. John is defended by a battery of fix guns and a
ferjeant's guard. The veffels which come up the Miflifippi haul
clofe along-fide the bank next to New Orleans, to which they
make faft, and take in or difcharge their cargoes with the fame
facility as from a wharf. The town is fecured from the inun-
dations of the river by a raised bank, generally called the Le-
vee; and this extends from the Detour des Anglois, to the upper
settlement of the Germans, which is a distance of more than fifty
miles, and a good coach-road all the way. The Levee before
the town is repaired at the public expence, and each inhabitant
keeps that part in repair which is opposite to his own plantation.
Having described the situation of the city of New Orleans, I will
proceed to its plan of conftrufion.

The parade is a large fquare, in the middle of that part of the
town which fronts the river; in the back part of the fquare is the
church dedicated to St. Louis, a very poor building, framed with
wood ; it is in fo ruinous a condition that divine service has not
been performed in it fince the year 1766, one of the king's ftore-
houfes being at prefent ufed for that purpofe. The capuchins are
the curates of New Orleans; on the left hand fide of the church
I they


they had a very handsome and commodious brick houfe, which is
totally defeated and gone to ruin; they now live on their planta-
tion, and in a hired houfe in town. On the right hand fide of the
church is the prison and guard-houfe, which are very strong and
good buildings. The two fides of the fquare were formerly occu-
pied by barracks for the troops, which are entirely destroyed. The
fquare is open to the river, and on that fide are twenty-one pieces
of ordnance, en barbette, which are fired on public rejoicings.
All the fireets are perfectly straight, and crofs each other at right
angles, and thefe divide the town into fixty-fix fquares, eleven in
length by the river's fide, and fix in depth ; the fides of thefe
fquares are one hundred yards each, and are divided into twelve
lotts, for the eftablifhment of the inhabitants. The intendant's
houfe and gardens take up the right fide of the parade, the left fide
is occupied by the king's flore-houfes and an artillery-yard. There
is at present no building fet on part for the governor; his general
residence is in a large houfe, which was formerly the property of
the company who were the proprietors of Louifiana, known by the
name of la compagnie d'occident. The agent of the company is now
owner of the houfe. The convent of the Urfulines and general
hospital, which is attended by the nuns, occupy the two left hand
fquares facing the river: thefe buildings are ftrong and plain, well
answering the purposes for which they were designed. The gene-
ral plan of building in the town, is with timber frames filled up
with brick; and moft of the houfes are but of one floor, raised
about eight feet from the ground, with large galleries round them,
and the cellars under the floors level with the ground ; it is impof-
fible to have any fubterraneous buildings, as they would be con-
ftantly full of water. \ I imagine that there are betwixt even and
eight hundred houses in the town, moft of which have gardens.
The fquares at the back and fides of the town are mostly laid out
in gardens; the orange-trees, with which they are planted, are not
unpleasant objects, and in the spring afford an agreeable fmell.

C 2 The


There are, exclusive of the flaves, about even thousand inha-
bitants in town, of all ages and fexes. The fortifications are only
an enceinte of ftockades, with a banquette within and a very trifling
ditch without; thefe can answer no end but against Indians, or
negroes, in cafe of an infurretion, and keep the flaves of the
town and country from having any communication in the night.
There are about four hundred soldiers kept for the police of the
town and country; thefe belong to the detached companies of the
marines: there are alfo ten companies of militia, four chosen
from the inhabitants of the town, the planters and their fervants
form the remainder.

The government of Louifiana is composed of a governor, an
intendant, and a royal council. The governor is invested with a
great deal of power, which, however, on the fide of the crown is
checked by the intendant, who has the care of the king's rights,
and whatever relates to the revenue ; and on the fide of the people
it is checked by the royal council, whofe office it partly is to fee
that the people are not oppreffed by the one nor defrauded by the
other. The royal council, who ftile themselves Le Confeilfuperieur
de la Loufiane, confit of the intendant, who is firft judge, the
king's attorney, fix of the principal inhabitants, and the register
of the province; and they judge in all criminal and civil matters.
Every man has a right to plead his own caufe before them, either
verbally or by a written petition ; and the evidences called on by
each party attend the examination of the council. In a court like
this, eloquence or great abilities cannot support injuftice or con-
found truth.

The intendant is commiffary of the marine and judge of the
admiralty; and he decides, in a summary manner, all disputes be-
tween merchants, or whatever elfe has a relation to trade. A final
reference may be made from any judgment given by the intendant

or council to the parliament of Paris. On the firft eflablifhment
of the colony, nothing that could tend to render it flourishing or
happy was unthought of. I hall mention one inflance of the lenity
and wifdom of the legislature; but the difhonefty of governors and
intendants, as well as the corruption and relaxation of the govern-
ment in France fince that time, has totally perverted or funk into
oblivion regulations that were fo evidently calculated for the hap-
pinefs of the fubjet. The planter is considered as a Frenchman
venturing his life, enduring a species of banishment, and under-
going great hardships for the benefit of his country; for which
reason he has great indulgence (hewn. Whenever by hurricanes,
earthquakes, or bad feafons, the planters fuffer, a flop is put to the
rigor of exaaing creditors. The few taxes which are levied are
remitted, and even advances are made to repair their loffes and fet
them forward. On the other hand, there can be no tempta-
tion to the planter to run fraudulently into debt, to the
prejudice of the French merchant, as all debts, though con-
traded by the planters in France, are levied with great eafe. The
procefs, properly authenticated, is tranfmitted to America, and
admitted as proof there, and levied on the planter's eftate, of what-
ever kind it may be. However, care is taken that whilft compul-
fbry methods are ufed to make the planter do juflice, the fate
hall not lofe the industry of a ufeful member of the community;
the debt is always levied according to the fubftance of the debtor.
Thus one party is not facrificed to the other, they both fubfift,
the creditor is fatisfied, and the debtor not ruined.

The paper money which circulated in this province has e!-
moft effefed its ruin, owing to the mal-adminiftration of Monf.
Kerlerec, who was governor during the lalf war. As the fend-
ing money from France, at that time, to pay the civil and mi-
litary officers, troops, and other exigences of government, would
have been attended with too much rifque, the governor and
intendant were ordered to iffue out paper money, which were

called Bons *, being notes for fmall fums, payable in bills of ex-
change, drawn at three months fight on the treasury of France.
Thefe Bons were from ten fols to one hundred livres; and whoever
collected a certain fum, as three or four hundred livres at leaft,
was entitled to a bill of exchange in lieu of the Bons, which he
paid to the treasurer of the province. The governor and intendant
empowered the commandants and commiffaries at our ports to iffue
out notes of the fame kind, for provisions, public works, and In-
dian presents. Thus the debts contra&ed with the merchants and
inhabitants during the war amounted to very large fums, and the
abufes made of this great truft rendered the expenses of the co-
lony enormous. Monf. de Kerlerec, and fome other officers, took
opportunities of negotiating bills by way of Jamaica and other
English colonies, before the peace was concluded: the amount of
thefe bills was very considerable and was duly paid. The demands
of money from Louifiana and expenses of Canada fo far ex-
ceeded all expectation, and the treasury of France being drained,
the king, by an edict in 1759, flopped payment of this colony's
bills, to the amount of even millions of livres, on pretence of no
authenticated vouchers, or accounts of the public expenses being
arrived. In the latter end of the year 1763, Monf. Kerlerec was
recalled, and Monf. de Rochemaure, the intendant, left the co-
lony fome time before, and died shortly after his arrival in France.
Monf. D'Abbadie was fent out as director-general, and was in-
vefted with the powers of both governor and intendant: he was
inftruaed to reform the abufes which had taken place in the pub-
lick offices, and to endeavour to reftore tranquility to the inhabi-
tants, who were almost engaged in a civil war, by entering into
the disputes of their governor and intendant, which were firft oc-
The tenor of thefe Bons was as follows:
No a la Nouvelle Orleans.
Bon pour la fomme de payable en lettres
de change fur le trefor Sigd The Governor
igned 1 and Intendant.

cafioned by the arrival of two Englith flags of truce, during the
war, loaded with dry goods, one of which was from Jamaica and
the other from Rhode Ifland. Whilft Monf. de Kerlerec held a
congress with the Creek and Chataw Indians at Mobile, Monf.
de Rochemaure feized the veffels, imprisoned the captains and
crew, and lodged the cargoes in the king's flore-houfes. Monf.
de Kerlerec on his return to New Orleans, ordered the captains
and sailors to be released, restored their veffels to them, and per-
mitted them to fell the cargoes for the benefit of the owners.
Many of the moft refpedable inhabitants and fome officers remon-
trated against this proceeding, and represented the danger of ad-
mitting Englifh fubjecas to trade in the time of war, who would
become acquainted with the navigation of the river, and be ena-
bled to give a true account of the then weak situation of the pro.
vince, which would fall an eafy prey to their enemies. The friends
of Monf. Kerlerec, on the other hand, petitioned that the cargoes
might be publicly fold, and the Englifh protected; that the co-
lony was in the greatest want of the goods brought by the flags of
truce; that it was an act of humanity in the Englifh governors
who had granted thofe commiffions; that this was the only me.
thod by which they could be supplied with what they were in the
greatest neceflity for; and should he take harfh measures with thefe
people, the colony muft be totally excluded from all hopes of fu-
ture affiftance till a peace, of which there was not then the leaft
profpet. But to return to the paper money: Monf. D'Abbadie
called in a great quantity of the bills of exchange and Bons, de-
preciating their value feventy-five per cent. and iffued out new
paper money, figned by him, which he put on a par with fpecie;
as, for example, a Bon of five livres was equal to one dollar or
piece of eight, and feventy livres of the old paper was only equal
to one dollar. Thus the industrious planter was defrauded of
three-fourths of his property.



Monf. D'Abbadie died in February 1765, fince which the paper
money iffued by him has fallen twenty-five per cent. from its ori-
ginal value. On the death of Monf. D'Abbadie, Monf. Aubry,
commandant of the troops, succeeded him as governor, and Monf.
Foucault, commijaire ordonnateur, as intendant. There gentle-
men continued to a& in their refpetive flations, notwithstanding
the ceffion of the colony to the crown of Spain in 1764. Don
Antonio D'Ulloa arrived at New Orleans about the middle of the
year 1766, but refused to take the government of the colony on
him, until he should have a sufficient armed force to eftabli(h his
authority. In the beginning of the year 1767 two hundred Spanifh
soldiers were fent from the Havanna, but thefe he did not think
sufficient to enforce his commands in a country where the Spaniih
government was held in the utmoft abhorrence and deteftation; he
fent about fixty of thefe troops to ere& two forts, one oppofite fort
Bute, on the mouth of the Ibbeville, and the other on the weft fide
of the Miffifippi, oppofite the Natches; the remainder were fent
in the autumn of 1767 to build a fort at the mouth of the river
Miffoury; but the commandant was forbid to interfere with the
civil government of their settlements in the Illinois country, where
Monf. De Saint Ange continues to command with about twenty
French soldiers. Don Antonio D'Ulloa, who had already carried
a high hand over the inhabitants, received fome orders from his
court, by which the commerce of the colony was greatly reftrided,
and which were fo difagreeable to the colonifts, that they revolted
from the dominion of the crown of Spain; and the council, by an
edia, inserted at the end of this work, obliged him and the prin-
cipal Spanifh officers to leave the province in November 1768,
notwithflanding M. Aubry's remonftrances and the protect he made
against the edic of the council.

Monf. de Sacier, one of the council, with two other gentlemen
of the colony, was fent to France with this edit, and to implore
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the protedion of the king; they were imprisoned on their arrival,
and have never been heard of fince.

During fix months, which elapfed before news could be received
from Europe, the unhappy colonifts vainly flattered themselves
with hopes of being justified for the fteps they had taken by the
court of France. On the 23d of July, 1769, news was brought
to New Orleans of the arrival of general O'Reily at the Balize,
with eighteen transports, followed by ten more from the Havanna,
having four thousand five hundred troops on board, and loaded
with flores and ammunition. This intelligence threw the town
into the greatest consternation and perplexity, as, but a few days
before, letters had arrived from Europe fignifying that the colony
was restored to France.

In the general diftradtion that took place, the inhabitants of the
town and the adjacent plantations determined to oppofe the landing
of the Spaniards, and fent couriers requiring the Germans and Ac-
cadian neutrals to join them. On the 24th an exprefs arrived from
general O'Reily, which was read by Monf. Aubry to the people in
church; by this they were informed that he was fent by his ca-
tholic majefly to take poflfi'on of the colony, but not to diftrefs
the inhabitants; and that when he should be in poffefion he would
publish the remaining part of the orders he had in charge from the
king his master; and should any attempt be made to oppofe his
landing, he was resolved not to depart until he could put his ma-
jefty's commands in execution.

The people, diffatisfied with this ambiguous meffage, came to a
resolution of fending three deputies to Mr. O'Reily, viz. Meflrs.
Grandmaifon, town-major, La Friniere, attorney-general, and De
Mazant, formerly captain in the colony's troops and a man of very
considerable property; thefe gentlemen acquainted him, that the
inhabitants had come to a resolution of abandoning the province,
D and

and demanded no other favour than that he would grant them two
years to remove themselves and effecs. The general received the
deputies with great politenefs, but did not enter into the merits of
their embaffy, farther than affuring them that he would comply
with every reasonable request of the colonists; that he had the in-
tereft of their country much at heart, and nothing on his part
should be wanting to promote it; that all paft tranfadions should
be buried in oblivion, and all who had offended should be for-
given : to this he added every thing that he imagined could flatter
the expeaations of the people. On the ift of Auguf the deputies
returned, and made public the kind reception the general had
given them, and the fair promises he had made. The minds of
the people were now greatly tranquilized, and thofe who had be-
fore determined suddenly to quit their plantations now resolved to
remain until their crops were off the ground.

During the absence of the deputies, federal of the principal in-
habitants applied to captain-lieutenant Campbell, late of the thirty-
fourth regiment, then at New Orleans, to acquaint the governor
of Weft Florida that they were defirous of becoming Britifh fub-
jefs, and to beg that he would fend a proper perfon to tender them
the oath of allegiance, and to distribute the lands, on the banks
of the river betwixt the Ibbeville and Natches, for them to fettle
on; and that they were to be joined by near two-thirds of the
French inhabitants, and by German and Accadian families, of
which fix hundred men were capable of bearing arms. Thefe
would have proved a valuable acquisition to the province of Weft
Florida, and it is rather unfortunate that at this time there were no
troops in the forts of Natches and Ibbeville to give them pro-

On the 16th of Auguft general O'Reily arrived at New Orleans
with one frigate and twenty-two transports, and came on fhore
the day following to reconnoitre the ground for difembarking, and
8 the

the grand parade for drawing up his troops; he was attended by
Monf. Aubry and the flaff of the garrifon; he returned on board
foon after, and was faluted by the frigate and the garrifon. Or-
ders were given for the troops to difembark on the i8th, at four
o'clock in the morning, by firing one gun from the frigate ; fages
being previously made to reach from the thore to the fides of the
fhips for the soldiers to pafs over.

On a signal being given all the troops began to move, and in
lefs than ten minutes were formed on the bank of the river, and
from thence marched to the grand parade, where they formed
the fquare. The hips were dreffed with the colours of different
nations, and the fhrouds and yards crouded with sailors. On the
general's going on thore he was faluted by the frigate, and received
four cheers from the sailors; and on his coming on the parade there
was a general discharge of cannon and mall arms from the gar-
rifon and militia, attended with mufick and drums. Don Alex.
O'Reily and Monf. Aubry, with their attendants, followed by a
croud of inhabitants, went to that angle of the parade where the
flag-ftaff flood. Monf. Aubry, as governor, opened his orders
from his moft chriftian majefty, to deliver up the town and island
of New Orleans, and province of Louifiana, to Don Alex.
OReily, in the name of his catholick majefty; and expreffed his
happiness and fatisfaCion in being succeeded in the command of
that country by a man of his humanity and worth I to which ge-
neral O'Reily answered, I hall make it the rule of my future
conduct in government, to imitate thofe wife and prudent maxims
in adminiftring justice by which you have gained the hearts of
the people, even at the moft critical juncture The Spanifh co.
lours were now boifted, and honoured by another general discharge
of artillery and fmall arms from the garrifon ; his excellency
and attendants went to church, and fung Te Deum, whilft the
guards were relieving: after church was over, the parade was dif-
miffed, and the soldiers went to the barracks appointed for them.
D On

On the 9th of Auguft the town militia was reviewed: from this
day the time was paffed in receiving and making visits until the
25th in the morning, when the inhabitants went to pay their re-
fpeas to their new governor; as they entered the hall, he defired
them to place themselves fingly round the room, and holding a
paper in his hand, containing the names of the perfons principally
concerned in the late infurreaion, fuch as were prefent he begged
to walk into the next room, where an officer and guard attended
to take them into custody; fuch as were abfent he fent for, to the
number of thirteen, and confined them in separate apartments, fome
on board fhip, others to guards and common prifons, where they
were detained to take their trials for high treafon; their flaves
and other effeas were feized in the king's name. On the syth
a proclamation was published, ordering the inhabitants to take
the oaths of allegiance; and an amnesty to all concerned in the
late revolt, except thofe already in custody; and another was pub-
lifted prohibiting negroes from monopolizing provisions coming
to market, or buying or felling without a written leave from their
matters. Shortly after, other orders were given out, by which all
the Englith fubjeas, proteftants, and Jews of every nation, were
enjoined to depart from the province of Louifiana, and all com-
merce prohibited, except with Old Spain and her iflands, and nei-
ther of thefe having demand for the produce of Louifiana and
their returns, if any trade should take place, could not be employed
in the commerce of the Miflifippi.

General O'Reily made great profeflions of friendship to the go-
vernor of Weft Florida, and affured him, upon every occasion, of his
wishes to live in harmony with his Englifh neighbours. His words
and actions widely differed; he endeavoured to tamper with the
Indians settled on our territories, and behaved with great inhofpi-
tality towards all Englifh fubjeCts who had occafion to go up the
river Miffifippi, and infringed the articles of peace, by fending
a party of soldiers to cut the hawfers of an Englifh veffel, called


the Sea Flower, that had made faft to the bank of the river above
the town; the order was obeyed, and the veifel narrowly escaped
being loft. It is impoffible for veffels to navigate upon the Mififippi,
unlefs they are permitted to make faft to the thore, as has been
explained in the foregoing part of this work; and if Englifh vef-
fels are prevented, they cannot be faid to enjoy the free naviga-
tion of the river, conformable to the articles of the laft peace.

In October, great and folemn preparations were made for the
trial of the prisoners charged with high treafon, who continued to
undergo a cruel and rigorous imprisonment until the 3xf1 of this
month. When they were brought before the high court ofjuftice,
as it was called, (it was more properly a court martial, the general
himfelf presiding, and the other members being moftly Spanifh
officers) all the prisoners were found guilty of the charge exhibited
against them; five were sentenced to be mhot, and even to be con-
fined for. ten years to the Moro castle at the Havanna. Thofe con-
demned to death were executed the day following; their names,
Monf. Lafriniere, king's attorney; Monf. De Marquis, formerly
commandant of the Swifs companies at New Orleans, and knight
of the order of St. Louis; Monf. De Noyant, captain of dragoons,
fon of the late king's lieutenant of Louifiana Pierre Careffe and
Petit, merchants. The names of thofe banished to the Moro,
Monf. De Mazant, formerly captain in the colony troops; Monf.
Garic, register of the council; Meffrs. Douffet, Millet, fen. and
jun. and Poupet, merchants.

Monf. Foucault, the intendant, was fent prisoner to France.
Monf. Villeroy, one of the perfons firft arrested, had embarked
with his slaves and moft valuable effeas, designing to throw
himself under the prote&ion of the Englih ; but being after-
wards persuaded of the sincerity of the Spanifh general's pro-
mifes, he landed with his flaves and effeds, and returned to his
plantation: he was fo enraged at the treachery that had been ufed

towards him, and at the cruel treatment he received when in con-
finement, that he died raving mad. The fate of Monf. Lafrinier's
daughter and only child is particularly lamentable; this young
lady was married but fome months before this dreadful event to
Monf. De Noyant, who was handsome in his person, and amiable
in his difpofition.

It is impoffible to refle& on this tragedy but with horror and
deteftation. When fraud or treachery are made ufe of to deftroy
an enemy, or punish the guilty, it difgraces a nation and the name

It is remarkable, that the king of Spain, in his acceptation of
Louifiana, promises the inhabitants their original form of go-
vernment, and to continue the French counfellors in his council:
he alfo offers to receive all the troops employed by the king of
France in that country into his service; but the soldiers finding
that they were to receive no more pay than they had formerly been
allowed, which is considerably lefs than the pay of Spanifh troops,
refused entering into that service to a man.

I have entered into this long digreffion concerning the govern-
ment of Louifiana, with a view of giving fome idea of its pre-
fent political fate. I hall now return to an account of the fet-

There are fome plantations on the Bayouk of. St. John, and on
the road from thence to New Orleans. The fettlements of Gen-
tilly are one mile from the Bayouk of St. John, on the fide of a
fmall creek, which alfo communicates with the lake Ponchartrain.
Cannes, BrulM, Chapitoula, and the German fettlements join each
other, and are a continuation of well cultivated plantations of near
forty miles from New Orleans, on each fide of the river. At the
German settlements, on the weft fide of the river, is a church

served by the capuchins; and a mall flockaded fort in the center
of the fettlements on the eaft fide of the river an officer and twelve
soldiers are kept there for the police of that quarter. This poft
was originally erected as an afylum for the inhabitants who firft
fettled there, and were much molefted by the Chaeaws and
Chickafhaws, who in alliance carried on a war against the settlers
on the Miffifippi. Their entry into this part of the colony was very
eafy, as they went up a fall creek, called Tigahoe, in canoes.
The entrance of this creek, which is in the lake Ponchartrain, is
defended by a fmall redoubt and a ferjeant's guard.

Having now gone through the richeft and moft cultivated plan-
tations on the Miffifippi, it is neceffary to fay something of their
produce, which form the greatest part of the commerce of Loui-
fiana. The different articles are indigo, cotton, rice, maiz,
beans, myrtle wax-candles, and lumber. The indigo of this
country is much efteemed for its beautiful colour and good quality ;
the colour is brighter than that which is fabricated at St. Do-
mingo. The cotton, though of a moft perfed white, is of a very
thort ftaple, and is therefore not in great request. The maiz,
different forts of beans, rice, and myrtle candles, are articles in
constant demand at St. Domingo.

Some of the richeft planters, fince the year 1762, have begun
the cultivation of fugar, and have erected mills for fqueezing the
canes; the fugar produced in this country is of a very fine quality,
and fome of the crops have been very large; but no dependance
can be had on this, as fome years the winters are too cold, and
kill the canes in the ground.

In the autumn the planters employ their slaves in cutting down
and fquaring timber, for fawing into boards and fcantling; the
carriage of this timber is very eafy, for thofe who cut it at the back

of their plantations make a ditch, which is supplied with water
from the back fwamps, and by that means conduct their timber to
the river fide without labour; others fend their flaves up to the
cyprefs fwamps, of which there are a great many betwixt Ne*
Orleans and Pointe Coupe ; there they make rafts of the tim-
ber they cut, and float them down to New Orleans.

Many of the planters have faw-mills, which are worked by the
waters of the-Miffifippi in the time of the floods, and then they
are kept going night and day till the waters fall. The quantity of
lumber fent from the Mifflippi to the Weft India islands is prodi-
gious, and it generally goes to a good market.

About ten leagues from the fort at the German settlements are
the villages of the Houmas and Alibamons. The former were. once
a considerable nation of Indians, they are reduced now to about
forty warriors: the latter are about twenty families, being part of
a nation which lived near fort Touloufe, on the river Alibamons,
and followed the French when they quitted that poft in the year
1762. One league further up is the Fourche de Chetimachas,
near which is the village of a tribe of Indians of that name ; they
reckon about fiaty warriors. Three leagues above this is the
Conceffion of Monf. Paris, a pleafant situation and good land;
larg:eherdsof cattle are now kept there, belonging to the inhabitants
of Pointe Coupie. The new settlements of the Accadians are on
.both fides of the river, and reach from the Germans to within
even or eight miles of the river Ibbeville. Thefe are the re-
Ijaindder of the families which were fent by general Lawrence
from Nova Scotia to our southern provinces; where, by their
Sinduftry, they did and might have continued to live very happy, but
that they could not publicly enjoy the Roman Catholic religion,
to which they are greatly bigotted. They took the earliest op-
portunity, after the peace, of transporting themselves to St. Do-

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mingo, where the climate disagreed with them fo much, that
they in a few months loft near half their numbers; the remainder,
few only excepted, were, in the latter end of the year 1763, re-
moved to New Orleans, at the expence of the king of France.
There are about three hundred families of this unfortunate people
fettled in different parts of Louifiana.


[ 26 ]


WE now come to the river Ibbeville, the fouth boundary of
Weft Florida, and of the Engli(h poffeffions on the river
Miffifippi. The junaion of thelbbeville with the Miffifippi is thirty-
two leagues from New Orleans, fixty leagues from the Balize, and
ninety leagues from Penfacola, by the way of the lakes. The poft
at the mouth of the river Ibbeville, on the banks of the Miffifippi,
has ever truck me, from its situation, as of the greatest confe-
quence to the commerce of Weft Florida; for it may with reason
be fuppofed, that the inhabitants and traders who refide at Pointe
Coupee, at Natchitoches, Attacappa, Arcanfas, the Illinois, and
the pofl of St. Vincent's on the Ouabache, would rather trade at
this place than at New Orleans, if they could have as good returns
for their peltry and the produce of their country; for it makes a
difference often days in their voyage, which is no inconfiderable
having of labour, money, and time. The goods thefe people take
in return for their peltry, furs, tobacco, tallow, and bear's oil,
are, fpirituous liquors, grocery, dry goods of all kinds, and all the
articles neceffary for their commerce with the favages. The only
difficulty that oppofes itself to this neceffary settlement is the want
of a navigation through the river Ibbeville; fo that veffels might
carry on a conflant intercourse betwixt this place and Penfacola,
without going up the Miffifippi, which is a tedious navigation.
The better to (hew the facility of accomplishing this, I hall here
infert a description of the paffage from lake Ponchartrain to the
Miffifippi, and dire6ions neceffary to be observed in that naviga-
tion. The coat of Weft Florida, from Penfacola to lake Pon-
chartrain, is fo well known that it is not neceflary to fay any thing
on that head. The description of the river Ibbeville, &c. was a
report transmitted with plans and draughts, in the year 1765, to
his excellency general Gage.

1 27 1



M A S S I A C,


B EFORE I begin the description and dire&ions, it is neceffary
I should mention fome errors which have fubfifted in all geo-
graphical accounts hitherto given of that part of the country, which
I have examined ; thefe I will endeavour to explain. The names
Maffiac, Manchaque, Afcantia, Amit, and Ibbeville, have been
fo confounded, that it is with difficulty a ftranger can know what
part of the country to apply one or other of them to; and there
errors fill fubfift with the French, fo that when this paffage is
talked of even amongft themselves they confound one another, and
he who would peak of that part next the Miffifippi, is thought by
another to have faid something of the communication betwixt the
lakes Ponchartrain and Maurepas. In order to avoid the fame
miilakes, it is proper thefe names should be diftintly feparated;
the way I think they should be underflood is this: The paffage
from lake Ponchartrain to lake Maurepas should be called the Maf-
fiac, and the two channels be diftinguifhed, by one being called
the S. W. and the other the N. W. The Amit should carry its name
as far as its current runs, which is from its force, near Natches,
to where it empties itfelf into lake Maurepas, which is feventy
leagues. The Ibbeville I cannot understand to be any thing more
Ez than

than a mall creek, which is supplied with water by the Mifrfilppi
and Amit. From March to September the former generally af-
fords water enough to make a navigation through; the reft of the
year its whole fupply is from the latter, and that only for fix
leagues and a half up. By this rule I hall go on with the description
and directions, which are as follow. Off the pafs at Maffiac, next
to the lake of Ponchartrain, is found three fathoms of water and
there are not lefs fleering W. for the center of the pafs, which
when entered there is four or five fathoms, keeping mid-channel:
this depth of water will be carried all the way to lake Maurepas.
Two miles and a half up this channel is the point of an island,
which is formed by two channels ; the entrance of the great chan-
nel, called by the French Grand Maffiac, lies N. W. and the little
one, which they call Le Petit Maffiac, N. W. by N. The great
channel is the beft, although the depth of water is the fame in
both; but as the ihoals do not run fo far off the points, and as
the turnings are not fo great, nor fo many, the distance is confe-
quently lefs ; for thefe reasons I should recommend the great chan-
nel for our conftant navigation. However advantageous it may
appear at firft fight to have a poft on the eaft end of the island, it
would anfwer no purpose, as the favages go frequently into lake
Maurepas from lake Ponchartrain, by the river Tanchipao; which
for canoes and fmnall boats is equally as good a navigation, because
about three leagues up a branch of the Nitabani empties itself into
that river, and which is the communication from Tanchipao to
lake Maurepas. The opening of the lake Maurepas is about even
miles from the eaft point of the island; here it is neceffary to keep
near the island, as a fhoal bank runs off a point that lies fouth
about one mile and a half from the pafs. Steering by this di-
retion, there will not be found lefs than even feet water on the
bar, and never lefs than eight feet going through the lake. The
mouth of the river Amit bears weft foutherly; by keeping near the
north fhore we do not leffen the water, but come at once into four
fathoms; but go as we pleafe, we cannot find lefs than five feet.
7 The


The mouth of this river is remarkable from being embayed, and
from a number of trees which Rand off the land in the lake and are
almost covered with water. The land is overflowed when the
waters are high, about one foot and a half, as appears by the marks
on the trees, and continues fo near a league up the river, where
there is a fpot of land which appears to be never covered: all fuch
fpots I have thewn in the annexed draught. But this is an obfer-
vation which may be made of the country throughout; that the
lands grow lower as we advance in the woods, and at three and
four hundred yards back from the river we never fail meeting with
bogs and fwamps. As the land is not much overflowed at the
mouth, it would be no difficult matter to make a bank for the fecu-
rity of a mall poft there; and if it should be ever thought necefiary,
materials are ready; there being shells, with which lime may be
made, and very fine timber, fuch as cyprefs and elm. As I have
been very careful in making the draught, and marking every little
river that empties itself into this, I fall fay nothing of them, only
that unlefs this draught is followed, or a pilot, taken, mistakes
may be made by going up one of them, inftead of the river to be
purfued. The nearer we approach the junaion of the Amit with
the Ibbeville the current becomes ftronger. When I went up, in
the month of March, I found within about three leagues of that
place a current running at the rate of three miles an hour, though
at the entrance at lake Maurepas it was fcarcely perceptible. From
the mouth of the Amit to the junction of the Ibbeville several trees
are fallen down, which should be removed, otherwise the naviga-
tion is continually liable to interruptions by the logs floating down,
and being intercepted by them, which in a very little time would
form a barricado quite acrofs, fuch as there was when I went up,
and which was cleared by ten negroes fent down for that purpose,
and my detachment. The depth of water from lake Maurepas to
the Ibbeville is from four to nine fathoms, and the diflance four-
teen leagues: here it is neceffary to ftrike the mafts when the
waters are high, as the branches of the trees hang very low, and

intervene fo that in fome parts they form an arbour over the river.
Four leagues further up the lands are lower than in any other part
of the country, the marks of the water on the trees being ten feet
above the land. At irregular distances, as from one to three hun-
dred yards on each fide of the river, there are high lands overgrown
with canes, and this place is called Tagoulafay; here are a number
of fmall rivulets which run into the river; one league higher is
Anatamaha, which, in the Indian language, fignifies the fifh-
place: it is properly called, for they abound here all the year,
which accounts for the vaft number of crocodiles that are continually
on the banks of this river. Sloops and fchooners may come as far
as this place when the waters are at the loweft, here never being
lefs than twelve feet water; and at this time there is an eddy from
the river Amit which fets to the weftward. From hence to the
Miffifippi I think the trees should be cut down forty feet back from
the river fide, that a road might be made for carriages when the
waters are low, at which time the bed of the river is dry from the
Miffifippi; when the waters are high it will till be neceffary for
the navigation, as veffels may be tracked up by horfes or men to
the Miffifippi, in the fame manner as lighters in England. The
river is too deep for getting conveniently with poles, and too nar-
row for rowing; and the vaft strength of the current, at the time
of the floods, without there should be room for the oars, would
drive the batteaux into the woods, and it would be a difficult matter
to find the way back to the river. My batteau went about one
mile above Anatamaha, but I could not get her any higher, al-
though there was not lefs than four and five feet water all the way
to the Miflifippi, which is more than three leagues distance (in-
cluding the turnings of the river), and when the waters are up
there will be from eleven to eighteen feet water. At two leagues
to the weftward of Anatamaha the land is never covered above one
foot, which, when fecured from the inundations of the river by a
bank being thrown up, will be as good as any in Louifiana, and
will yield every produce natural to the climate.


More than fix miles of the paffage of the river Ibbeville is
choaked up by wood, which has been drawn in by the eddy from
the Miffifippi at the annual floods. The river, for fix miles below
its entrance, is not in general above fifty feet wide many large
trees had fallen acrofs the river, which flopped the logs that were
floating down, and fo formed a barricado. In the beginning of the
year 1764, captain-lieutenant Campbell, late of the thirty-fourth
regiment, undertook to clear the river, and make it navigable; and
by order of major Farmer (who at that time commanded in Weft
Florida) hired upwards of fifty negroes for that purpose. In the
month of O&ober, when the bed of the river was dry, they cut
the trees which had fallen acrofs into fhort logs, and cleared a
path-way on the fide of the river about eight miles down, throw-
ing the canes and all the rubbish into it; expecting that when the
Miffifippi should rife it would carry all before it. In December
captain Campbell reported that he had made the river perfe&ly navi-
gable. The negroes had unfortunately begun to cut the logs next
the Miflifippi, and had not cleared the embarraffments that were
on the lower parts of the river, which, when the floods came on,
intercepted fuch logs as floated down, and made the river in a
worfe condition than ever. A poft was eflabliihed in the spring
following, and a detachment of thirty soldiers of the thirty-fourth
regiment, with officers, and an engineer; they built fome huts to
lodge themselves, provisions, flores, and Indian prefents; and they
continued to work at the river, but to as little pnrpofe as the ne-
groes had done before. In July, the thirty-fourth regiment being
on their way to the Illinois, major Farmer took off the detachment,
leaving the engineer, an artillery officer, and three or four arti-
ficers, (moft of whom were in a fickly fate) and the stores,
to the mercy of the neighboring Indians; who, within a few
days after the departure of the regiment, pillaged the poft, and
the poor defencelefs people were happy to efcape with their lives to
New Orleans, leaving the artillery and fuch things as the Indians

could not destroy behind them. In the month of December, 1766,
governor Johnftone fent a detachment of the Scots fufileers, who
were lately arrived in Weft Florida, to repoffefs that poft; they
built a fall ftockaded fort, which continued to be garrifoned by
the troops from Penfacola in the year 1768, when I left that
place. I have fince heard that the garrifons at this poft and Natches
are withdrawn.


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