The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 54
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
instructions from Wilkinson to Power are in Nolan's handwriting.1
One is apparently justified, then, in the supposition that Nolan
knew more of Wilkinson's purposes than he chose to reveal to
Although Wilkinson and his agents were working with the Louis-
iana authorities in schemes detrimental to the United States, the
principal did not hesitate to use his advantage to, gain knowledge
that might in the future be used against the Spanish possessions.
This may have been the side of Nolan's mission which he empha-
sized to Ellicott, and by means of which he gained the fast friend-
ship of the latter. Nolan's motives and those of his principal, so
far as Spanish territory is concerned, appear in his conversation
with Samuel P. Moore, as reported by the latter in 1810.2 Nolan
offered Moore a share in the privilege he had obtained from Caron-
delet, of trading in horses with the province of 'Texas. In addition
to the permission from the Governor, Nolan said that he bore let-
ters of recommendation from New Orleans priests to those in
Texas. These letters had been obtained through Wilkinson's in-
fluence, and Carondelet expected Nolan to furnish him with plans
and information concerning the country explored. "But," said
Nolan, "I shall take care to give him no information, unless such
as may be calculated to mislead him. Whatever discoveries I can
make shall be carefully preserved for General Wilkinson, for the
benefit of our government." Nolan also spoke of his own influence
among the Indians, of the prospect of the conquest of Mexico by
the United States, and of his hope of a "conspicuous command"
in that movement, through the influence of his patron.
In one respect Nolan's plans did not promise the entire success
that he had hoped. Difficulties between Gayoso and Ellicott
threatened to become serious during May, 1797, 'and the prospect
of war caused him to defer his departure. At this time Gayoso
showed that the letters of Wilkinson had not wholly secured his
agent. Gayoso 'did, indeed, shower many attentions upon Nolan
and even presented him with a sextant, but he wrote Carondelet
not to permit the American to leave New Orleans. "He will take
an active part against us; he is popular and enterprising; secure
lIbid., App. 71.
2Wilkinson, Memoirs, App. III.
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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/m1/62/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.