The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957

rrade aoods for areas
A Jdcidet i& the Aistory of the
feffersolfiat embargo
C. NORMAN GUICE
ALTHOUGH the Embargo Act passed by the Jeffersonian Con-
gress in December, 1807, was intended to bring to an end,
for the time being, the entire export trade of the United
States, an apparent oversight allowed the continuance of an over-
land commerce with adjacent European-owned colonies. By
March, 18o8, however, even this trade was declared illegal since
the Second Supplementary Embargo Act forbade the overland
trades as well as the maritime ones.' It was this second act, and
its enforcement, that stirred the Spanish official in command of
the Provincias Internas, the Interior Provinces of New Spain, to
action. And action was needed, for on November 15, 1808, a train
of oxcarts carrying supplies of Indian trade goods between United
States-owned Louisiana and Spanish-owned Texas had been set
upon by a group of American civil officers when it was about six
miles west of Arroyo Hondo and still in the Neutral Ground.2
1Richards Peters (ed.), United States Statutes at Large (Boston, 1845), II, 451,
473; Henry Adams, The History of the United States of America (9 vols.; New
York, 1891-1898), IV, 200-201, 204; Herbert Heaton, "Non-Importation, 18o6-
1812," Journal of Economic History, I, 178-198.
2J. Villasana Haggard, "The House of Barr and Davenport," in Southwestern
Historical Quarterly, XLIX, 76-77. Apparently there had been no interruptions in
the trade prior to this action on the part of the Natchitoches officials, and the
New Orleans customs district, according to the testimony of one witness, was so
lax in its enforcement of the original Embargo Act that ships continued to de-
part "for six weeks after he [the collector] knew about the Embargo, on the
ground that he had not received an official copy." Heaton, "Non-importations,
18o6-1812," Journal of Economic History, I, 183. The "Neutral Ground," in gen-
eral the unsettled region between Spanish Texas and American Louisiana, had
been created by an agreement between General James Wilkinson and Lieutenant
Colonel Sim6n de Herrera in November, 18o6. The Commandancy General of the
Provincias Internas had been established in 1776 to bring the northern regions of
New Spain (the area comprising the present border states of Mexico and the
United States) under effective governmental control. By 18o8 its headquarters were
in the city of Chihuahua, and it was from that city that military and civil com-

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/. Accessed August 29, 2015.