The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 51
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The Louisiana-Texas Frontier.
ti.onize Louisiana without the open or tacit consent of the new
American government and the earnest support of its western set-
tiers. Hitherto the former factor had been lacking and the evi-
dent good will of the latter was ineffectual because unorganized.
It was to this fact rather than to. expenditures for fortifications
that Governor C'arondelet owed his escape from invasion by Giron-
dist propagandists and their American sympathizers. Yet during
this very period there was beginning another movement that repre-
sented the strength of the western element per se, uninfluenced
by 'any motive of foreign or domestic policy, except the ever-pres-
ent Anglo-American hunger for land, and the natural 'desire to
lead in the search for new and easily-obtained pastures. The
rank and file ,of this movement were seen in the American hunt-
ers, horse-traders, ranchmen, and general men of affairs who
streamed into Louisiana both before and after the administration
of Carondelet. The self-appointed leader appeared in the person
of James Wilkinson, the Spanish pensioner, afterwards promoted
to the command of the American army. The most typical repre-
sentative of this pioneer crusade, however, is his 'agent, the horse-
trader, explorer, and filibuster-Philip Nolan.
"Philip Nolan had been engaged in trade between San Antonio
and Natchez since the year 1785." So states the Texas historian,
Yoakum,' but he gives no authority for the date. In 1789, when
General James Wilkinson returned from his second journey to
New Orleans, Nolan accompanied him as a confidential agent.2
In a letter written several years later Nolan styles the General "the
friend and protector of my youth" ; and in another, written in
1791, he writes, "I am wholly yours, until I do the business of the
season, and then I shall visit San Antonio."4 The unaffected lan-
guage of the writer serves to reveal him as a true product of exist-
ing border conditions in the Mississippi Valley. Underhand rela-
tions with prominent Americans 'and Spaniards temporarily gained
him the confidence of the latter, which he utilized to advance his
private fortune by means of illicit trading.
'History of Texas, I 111.
2Clark, Proofs of the Corruption of General James Wilkinson, 15, App.
'Nolan to Wilkinson, June 10, 1796, in Wilkinson, Memoirs of My Own
Times, II, App. II.
'Nolan to Wilkinson, April,6, 1791. Ibid.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907, periodical, 1907; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101040/m1/59/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.