The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 53
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The Louisiana-Texas Frontier.
piece is good. I shall pay every attention, and take an assistant
with me, who is a tolerable mathematician. . . . I
will write to you again from Natchez by land. Minor's brother
sets out next month. I shall take ten good riflemen with me to
St. Antonio. The Indian Camanches and Appaches are at war
with the Spaniards, and I calculate on a little fight."
This letter of Nolan's is of double interest in view of a statement
of Wilkinson's,1 in 1806, "that I have been reconnoitering and
exploring the route [i. e. to Santa Fe] for more than sixteen years;
that I know not only the way, but all the difficulties and how to
surmount them." The close relations between the general and his
prot6g6, and the mention by 'the latter of maps and sextants,
strengthen the suspicion that something more than horse-trading
was to characterize Nolan's new venture into Texas. Yet at a
later period Ellicott wrote of Nolan :2
"I do not recollect to have ever received a hint, that the late Mr.
P. Nolan was concerned in any plans or intrigues injurious to the
United States. On the contrary, in 'all our private and confidential
conversations, he appeared strongly attached to the interest and
welfare of our country."
At this period Ellicott had evidence deeply incriminating Wil-
kinson's loyalty to the Union, so his testimony may be indicative
either of the fact that Nolan, for whom he professed great friend-
ship,3 was not cognizant of his principal's entire duplicity, or that
he was especially adroit in concealing his true relation to Wilkin-
son. The latter supposition is the more likely. At this time the
Baron de C arondelet, writing to Thomas Power, another of Wilkin-
son's agents, praises Nolan as "a charming young man whom I re-
gard very highly," and proposes to use him as a means of confiden-
tial communication to the general.4 Power likewise mentions
Nolan in a letter to Carondelet,5 while the claim is later made that
YMcCaleb, The Aaron Burr Conspiracy, 128. While Humboldt in Wash-
ington, during the summer of 1804, Wilkinson through Jefferson, at-
tempted to obtain from the famous traveler information concerning the
Internal Provinces and routes to Santa F6 and Mexico City. Cf. Cox,
"Early Exploration of Louisiana," 91; also Jefferson Papers, Series 2, Vol.
85, No. 78.
'Clark, Proofs, 69.
'Nolan to Wilkinson, July 21, 1797, in Wilkinson, Memoirs, II, App. II.
'Clark, Proofs, 59.
Ibid., App. 74.
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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/m1/61/: accessed February 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.