The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 52
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
On the expedition hinted at in his letter of April 6, 1791, Nolan
does not seem to have met with his customary degree of success.
In a later letter to Wilkinson1 he wrote that he had been "ungen-
erously suspected for a spy by the Mexicans, and even by your
old friend Gayoso."2 The papers furnished him by Governor
Mir6 evidently secured him from imprisonment but not from des-
poliation, for he was "cheated -out of all his goods." This treat-
ment caused him to wander among the Indians for some two years,
after which he returned among the Spaniards, conducting two
minor ventures. In this way he partially succeeded in recouping
his loss. But his experience rendered him 'doubly cautious, so he
forbore to communicate with Wilkinson until his return to Ken-
tucky in 1796 gave him an opportunity to do so without danger.
"A letter from a trader in horses," he wrote, "to a General of
the federal armies, would have confirmed suspicions that were
nearly fatal to me."
By the next year Nolan's fortunes promised to mend when,
early in February, he presented to Gayoso at Natchez the follow-
ing letter from Wilkinson :3
"This will be delivered to you by Nolan, who you know, is a
child of my own raising, true to his profession, -and firm in his
attachments to Spain. I consider him a powerful instrument in
our hand should occasion offer. I 'will answer for his conduct. I
am deeply interested in whatever concerns him, and I confidently
recommend him to your warmest protection."
This letter coupled with some shrewd diplomatic work in the
quarrel between Gayoso and Andrew Ellicott, the American boun-
dary commissioner, then at Natchez, evidently won for Nolan the
favor of the Spaniards, for he wrote Wilkinson :4
"I have got such a passport, that I apprehend neither risk nor
detention: I have instruments to enable me to make a more cor-
rect map than the one you saw: Ellicott assisted me in acquiring
a more perfect knowledge of astronomy and glasses; and Gayoso
himself has made me a present of a portable sextant. My time-
'June 10, 1796. Ibid.
2At this time serving as Spanish governor of the Natchez district.
'Yoakum, History of Texas, I 113; Clark, Proofs, 42.
4Nolan to Wilkinson, New Orleans, April 24, 1797, in Wilkinson,
Memoirs, II, App. II. For Ellicott's reports, cf. American State Papers,
Foreign Relations, II 20-27; 78-87.
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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/m1/60/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.