The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 55
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The Louisiana-Texas Frontier.
him." In this same letter he represented himself as Nolan's friend,
so it is no wonder that that individual regarded him as "a vile man,
and my implacable enemy."
The Baron de Carondelet had, however, in July, 1797, provided
Nolan with strong credentials stating his importance to the royal
service, and in addition took measures to secure him from any
consequences of Gayoso's enmity. His influence could not extend
beyond his term of office, and Gayoso had already been appointed
to the governorship 6f Louisiana--an event full of significance for
Nolan's future career. Matters had become more pacific around
Natchez, so the latter wrote Wilkinson; and he determined, despite
the uncertain 'tone of the last presidential speech, to set out on the
following day. Twelve persons constituted his company, and he
carried some seven thousand dollars' worth of merchandise.' Pro-
ceeding to San Antonio, he sent a request to Captain General
Pedro de Nava at Chihuahua for permission to buy horses. Re-
ceiving a favorable response he conveyed some thirteen hundred
back to Louisiana and beyond, arriving at the Mississippi early in
It was while absent upon this excursion that Nolan gained a new
friend, more influential even than his patron, the general. Upon
recommendation of Senator Brown of Kentucky, in possible con-
junction with an earlier hint from Wilkinson,8 Jefferson, then vice-
president-elect directed to Nolan a letter asking for information
concerning the wild horses to be found west of the Mississippi.4
'Nolan to Wilkinson, July 21, 1797, in Wilkinson, Memoirs II, App. II.
"Garrison, Texas, 112; THE QUARTERLY, VII 311, 312.
'THE QUARTERLY, VII 314; Jefferson's motives in interesting himself in
Nolan's work, while uncertain, are strongly suspicious. In the letter re-
ferred to above, Wilkinson writes: 'In the Bearer of this Letter-Mr. P.
Nolan, you will behold the Mexican traveler, a specimen of whose discov-
eries I had the honor to submit to you in the Winter 1797." Early in
this same year, 1797, according to the testimony of John D. Chisholm
(American Historical Review, X 602), the latter on one occasion, while
visiting Senator Blount, of Tenessee, found at table with him Jefferson
and Wilkinson. Chisholm believed that Blount expected him to disclose
to his visitors the plan for the conquest of Louisiana, the Floridas, and
New Mexico, but evaded doing so. A conference between these three
men, during the incubation of the so-called Blount conspiracy, is highly
significant, especially in view of Wilkinson's desire for the conquest of
New Mexico-one of the objective points of the conspiracy. In view of
this fact, and of the above quotation from Wilkinson's letter, we are led
to believe that Jefferson's interest in Nolan extended farther than to the
latter's description of the wild horses of Texas.
'THE QUARTERLY, VII 308.
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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/m1/63/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.