The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 38
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
for forty miles around, then petitioned Turner to police the negroes
more vigorously and to forward their petition to Claiborne.1 This
"ingenuous" action of the Spanish authorities thus promised to act
as a two-edged sword, for it disturbed both Spanish sympathizers
and loyal Americans.
On receiving Palliet's deposition from Turner, Claiborne was
inclined to doubt the report, although he cautioned his subordinate
to be watchful. When the petition followed he wrote more defin-
itely. The sequestration of property-for such the decree virtually
was-he termed an act of hostility more worthy of a Santo
Domingo leader than the King of Spain. He advised the estab-
lishment of military patrols in such a way as to cause the least pos-
sible alarm. He then reported the matter to Casa Calvo.
The latter believed that the commandant was unauthorized to
commit any act of the character alleged, as all his own and Clai-
borne's advices from Washington pointed to an early definite set-
tlement of the questions at issue between Spain and the United
States. When, however, Claiborne quoted from the language of the
decree, an offer of "a free and friendly asylum . . . in the
dominions of His Catholic Majesty, to such slave or slaves as
shall escape from the territories of any foreign power," the latter
stated that there must be some awkward mistake and that he had
written to Nacogdoches for a copy of the order. He attempted
to explain it by saying that it might have been issued during the
late war between France and Spain when escaping slaves were to
be sold for the benefit of the royal treasury, but that it did not
then apply, for it was to the interest of Spain to protect property
at Natchitoches.82 This suggestion has a sinister significance, in
view of Spanish efforts to regain the territory west of the Missis-
sippi, but Claiborne seems to ignore it, possibly because of his
partial sympathy with the idea. Later Casa Calvo reported to Clai-
borne that Ugarte had written to him, asking for the abrogation of
the decree in question. He had not promulgated it, but it was known
to some of the French inhabitants of Louisiana, and in some way
these had caused the circulation of false reports of its character.
1Turner to Claiborne, July 29, 30, and August 3, 1804. Claiborne Cor-
8'Claiborne to Casa Calvo, September 1, 1804; Casa Calvo to Claiborne,
September 5, 1804, Ibid. Parker, Nos. 7049, 7051.
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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/m1/42/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.