The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 37
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The Louisiana-Texas Frontier
Jeffersonians, which is not surprising in view of the President's
policy in cutting down the army; and that one "deranged officer
at the post," a favorite of the commandant, who monopolized the
furnishing of supplies to the garrison, was especially marked by
his abuse of the President. In time this practice was bound to have
its effect upon the inhabitants, who were beginning to think that
the way to political preferment lay through criticism of the govern-
With regard to these inhabitants Turner wrote that in a crisis
he believed little dependence could be placed in them, except where
their property interests were involved. They were "ignorant al-
most to stupidity." Accustomed to no system of government but
the Spanish, they looked upon another as a "hocus-pocus," destined
to make their condition worse. He held out some hope for the
future, however, for he added: "When they come to understand
the New Government, which, God help them, will be an age I fear,
they will be better pleased than they have formerly been." Clai-
borne also distrusted these same people, although he advised Turner
to train them in the militia.2" The events of two years later showed
that they possessed an unexpected degree of dependableness.
The situation that involved the property interests of the district
had already been created. On July 12, John B. T. Palliet, a former
French officer in the Spanish service, now a Natchitoches planter,
appeared before Turner and declared under oath that he had seen
in the commandant's office at Nacogdoches a royal decree bidding
frontier officials use every means in their power to reduce and
weaken American control in the neighboring territory. In order to
accelerate this process they were to encourage the desertion of
slaves and bestow upon the fugitives their freedom, a grant of
land, and the services of a priest to instruct them in the Catholic
religion.0 This report, which perturbed both Turner and the sur-
rounding population, was supplemented by later rumors that the
decree in question had been thrice publicly read, and that the
commandant told Samuel Davenport, the Indian trader, that he
proposed to enforce it. The people of the Natchitoches district,
28Jefferso Papers, 2d Ser., Vol. 76, No. 7.
"Turner to Claiborne, July 12 and 30, 1804. Claiborne Correspond-
"8lbid. Parker, No. 7014. Such a decree was issued in 1789 with special
reference to the Florida border, and had not been repealed.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914, periodical, 1914; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101061/m1/41/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.