« PreviousContinue »
Fort St John, at the entrance of the Bayou St John into Lake Ponchartrain, to protect the city against the approach of an enemy. Fort St Leon, at the lower extremity of the English turn. Fort Miro, on the Washita river, in 32° 30'. In the attack against New Orleans in 1814, the British army, under General Packenham, approached the river Mississippi through the marshy surface between the Terre aux Bæufs and St John's stream, near the Vilere Canal.
Religion. The clergy, before the late cession of Louisiana, consisted of a non-resident bishop, who had 4000 dollars a-year, from the revenue of certain bishopricks in Mexico and the isle of Cuba ; of two canons, with a revenue each of 600 dollars; and of twenty-five cures, of which five were for New Orleans, and twenty for the different parishes of the provinces, having each from 360 to 480 dollars ayear. All these disbursements, except the pay of the bishop, and the expences of the chapel, were paid by the treasury of New Orleans, * and amount
* When this colony belonged to Spain, the king drew from it the yearly sum of 191,000 dollars. The expences amounted to 378,000; hence the annual loss, owing to exclusive privileges and commercial monopoly, was 187,000 dollars. The most considerable source of revenue was a duty of six per cent. paid on the purchase or transfer of merchandise. An impost of two per cent. was derived from legacies and inheritances of collaterals, exceeding 2000 dollars; and four per cent. on legacies made by a tes. tator to persons out of the line of relationship; on civil employe ments, of which the emoluments exceeded 300 dollars a-year, onehalf was retained the first year, called Media Annata; vessels going ed annually to the sum of 13,000 dollars. * The convent of Ursulines, established in 1727, by the Company of the West, for the education of female orphans, contained, a few years ago, twenty-eight nuns. The establishment is under the direction of thirteen religieuses. In the same building, a public school has been established for the instruction of day-scholars, at a dollar a-year, of whom the number, at the above period, was eighty.
Trades and Professions.-In 1808, the professions and trades at New Orleans were as follows: Merchants, 60; printers, 7; innkeepers, 9; professors, 6; apothecaries, 5 ; lawyers, 24 ; physicians and surgeons, 18; dentists, 2.
Products of Mineral Substances.Salt is manufactured on the Saline river, and the south side of the Atakapas meadow-lands. Lime, of an excellent qua
in or out of the Mississippi paid a deposit of twenty dollars, of which seven nere retained. For permission to sell liquors, forty dollars a-year were paid. A duty was also drawn from the sale of certain offices,—those of the regidor, notary, attorney, &c. The emoluments and casual profits of the principal officers were as fol. lows: Governor, 6000 per annum, and 2000 casual; intendant, 4000; auditor, 2000, and 2000 casual; the contador, 2000; the assessor, 1200, and 1000 casual; the treasurer, 1200; the admi. nistrator, 1200; the secretary of the government, 600, and 2000 casual; the commandant of a district, 100 dollars a-year from the king, unless he had a pension, or military employment.
* See Documents published by the Government of the United States.
lity, and very white, is made from sea shells, which are found in great abundance near the banks of the river.
Products of Vegetable Substances.-Along the Mississippi, from the distance of 60 miles above New Orleans, to 42 miles above Plaquemines, 36 saw-mills are in operation, some of which, working night and day from February to July, gave an annual revenue of from 30,000 to 40,000 francs. The machinery is driven by water, which is suffered to escape from the river through small canals. Some mills, driven by steam, saw 5000 feet of board in twelve hours. There is one of this power at the outlet of the Manchac. On Bayou Boeuf, a considerable quantity of plank and scantling is annually manufactured from white and yellow cypress, and from the pine, the wood of which resembles that of the north of Europe. Pitch and tar are extracted from the pine to the east of Lake Ponchartrain, and afford a very lucrative commerce. The wood is cut in pieces of about two feet in length, split, and placed on iron bars, below which the resinous substance is received in a basin four or five feet square, and five or six inches in depth. The cane, or reed of the country, is employed to make hats, mats, sieves, baskets, and other works. The small species is so hard, that the Indians made knives of it before cutlery was introduced by the French. When arrived at maturity, it produces a grain like oats, but larger, which is gathered and made into bread or gruel. Black-cherry (Cerasus Canadensis) serves for the manufacture of furniture, and is highly valuable on account of its durability and beautiful appearance. The berries of the myrtle wax shrub
(Myrtica cerifera) contain a thick oily substance, which is separated by boiling water, and, when bleached, by a chemical process, is employed for candles and other domestic uses. The discovery is due to an Eng. lish carpenter named Martel, by whom it was made known to Alexander, a surgeon and chemist, who found out the secret of bleaching it, as is practised with the bees' wax of Europe. Barbe Espagnole, * (Tillandsia usneoides,) a parasite plant, which covers the trees of this country, affords nourishment for cattle, and is also employed to stuff mattresses and saddles, for which purpose it is beaten, washed in an alkaline solution, and dried; it then has the appearance of long black threads, and is so durable, that it is considered as incorruptible. It is also mixed with mud, for the pur. pose of building. The bark of the linden tree is employed to make cords; that of the cypress to cover houses, in which situation it will last from ten to twelve years. A fine liquor is extracted from the fruit of the persimon, which ripens after the first frosty wea. ther; a bushel of fruit yields about a gallon of spirits. The fruit is an excellent astringent, and a sovereign remedy for the dysentery. The seeds, reduced to powder, infused twenty-four hours in cold water, and drank fasting, are administered for the gravel. The ripe fruit is formed into a sort of bread, which is dried in the sun, and reserved for long voyages, † like sea
* So called by the natives, from a fancied resemblance to the beards of the Spaniards.
+ Bossu, Vol. II. p. 153.
biscuit. The fruit of the red mulberry is employed to make vinegar. The liquidambar, copalm, or sweet gum tree, yields a balm, or aromatic resinous substance, of an agreeable odour, and not inferior to that of Peru. Animals wounded in the chace are said to heal the wound by rubbing it against the balm which exudes from this tree. On account of its fine odour it was formerly burnt in the temples of Mexico. This substance is procured, in spring, from an incision made in the trunk, on the southern side. The plane tree bark af. fords a red dye. Sassafras tree is valuable for its me. dicinal qualities. Barbed-creeper is a febrifuge and stomachic. Milla pertuis affords an excellent oil for wounds.
The surplus productions of an immense country, watered by the Ohio, Missouri, Red river, and other great branches of the Mississippi, will naturally descend to New Orleans, and be thence transported to Mexico or the West Indies. * Besides, there will be
* In 1721, when this colony belonged to France, the directors of the Company of the West fixed the price of the merchandises which the inhabitants should bring and deposit in the magazines, tobacco at 25 livres the quintal ; rice at 12; French merchandise was sold at Biloxi, Mobile, and New Orleans, at 50 per cent. prcfit on the invoice; at Natchez and the Yazoos, at 70 per cent.; 80 at the Arkansas and Natchitoches; 50 at the Alibamas, and 100 at the Illinois. Tobacco, which cost four sous in merchandise, and two in money, was sold, in France, at 50 sous, by the agent of the company. With the Royal Company of Havannah there was a treaty of commerce, by which pitch was to be delivered at two piastres a barrel; tar at three, and boards at two reals each. † la
+ Vaudreuil's Letters.