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have been imported into the United States from Louisiana and the Floridas, viz. :
773,542 lb. 1,560,865
Of the Laws. When the country was first ceded to Spain, she preserved many of the French regulations, but by almost imperceptible degrees they have disappeared, and at present the province is governed entirely by the laws of Spain, and the ordinances formed expressly for the colony. Various ordinances promulgated by General O'Reilly, its first governor under Spain, as well as some other laws, are translated, and annexed in the appendix, No. 1.
Courts of Justice.-The governor's court has a civil and military jurisdiction throughout the province. That of the lieutenant governor has the same extent in civil cases only.
There are two alcades, whose jurisdiction, civil and criminal, extends through the city of New-Orleans and 5 leagues around it, where the parties have no fuero militar, or military privilege those who have can transfer their causes to the gov
The tribunal of the Intendant has cognizance of admiralty and fiscal causes, and such suits as are brought for the recovery of money in the king's name or against him.
The tribunal of the Alcade Provincial has cognizance of criminal causes, where offences are committed in the country, or when the criminal takes refuge there, and in other specified
The ecclesiastical tribunal has jurisdiction in all matters respecting the church.
The governor, lieutenant governor, Alcades, Intendant, Provincial Alcade, and the Provisor in ecclesiastical causes are respectively sole judges. All sentences affecting the life of the culprit, except those of the Alcade Provincial, must be ratified by the superior tribunal, or captain-general, according to the nature of the cause, before they are carried into execution. The governor has not the power of pardoning criminals. An auditor and an assessor, who are doctors of law, are appointed to give counsel to those judges; but for some time past there has been no assessor. If the judges do not consult
those officers or do not follow their opinions, they make themselves responsible for their decisions.
The commandants of districts have also a species of judicial power. They hear and determine all pecuniary causes not exceeding the value of one hundred dollars. When the suit is for a larger sum, they commence the process, collect the proofs, and remit the whole to the governor, to be decided by the proper tribunal. They can inflict no corporal punishment except upon slaves; but they have the power of arresting and imprisoning when they think it necessary, advice of which and their reasons must be transmitted to the governor.
Small suits are determined in a summary way by hearing both parties viva vote; but in suits of greater magnitude the proceedings are carried on by petition and reply, replication and rejoinder, reiterated until the auditor thinks they have nothing new to say. Then all the proofs either party chooses to adduce are taken before the keeper of the records of the court, who is always a notary public.
The parties have now an opportunity of making their remarks upon the evidence by way of petition, and of bringing forward opposing proofs. When the auditor considers the cause as mature, he issues his decree, which receives its binding force from the governor's signature, where the cause depends upon him.
There is an appeal to Havanna, if applied for within five days after the date of the decree, in causes above a certain value. An ulterior appeal lies to the Audience which formerly sat at St. Domingo, but which is now removed to some part of Cuba, and from thence to the council of the Indies in Spain.
Suits are of various durations. In pecuniary matters the laws encourage summary proceedings. An execution may be had on a bond in four days and in the same space on a note of hand after the party acknowledges it, or after his signature is proved. Moveable property is sold after giving nine days' warning, provided it be three times publicly cried in that interval. Landed property must be likewise cried three times, with an interval of nine days between each; and it may then be sold. All property taken in execution must be appraised and sold for at least half of the appraisement. In pecuniary matters the governors decide verbally without appeal, when the sum does not exceed one hundred dollars. The Alcades have the same privilege when the amount is not above twenty dollars.
In addition to these courts, four years ago there were established four Alcades de Barrio, or petty magistrates, one for each of the four quarters of the city, with a view to improve its police. They hear and decide all demands not exceeding ten dollars, exercise the power of committing to prison, and, in case of robbery, riot, or assassination, they can, by calling on a notary, take cognizance of the affair; but, when this is done, they are bound to remit the proceedings to some of the other judges, and in all cases whatever to give them information when they have committed any person to prison.
Most of the suits are on personal contracts, rights to dower, inheritances, and titles to land. Those arising from personal quarrels are generally decided in a summary way. The inhabitants are said not to be litigious. . .
Learning. There are no colleges, and but one public school, which is at New-Orleans. The masters of this are paid by the king. They teach the Spanish language only. There are a few private schools for children. Not more than half of the inhabitants are supposed to be able to read and write, of whom not more than two hundred perhaps are able to do it well. In general, the learning of the inhabitants does not extend beyond those two arts, though they seem to be endowed with a good natural genius and an uncommon facility of learning whatever they undertake.
The Church. The clergy consists of a bishop, who does not reside in the province, and whose salary of four thousand dollars is charged on the revenue of certain bishopricks in Mexico and Cuba; two canons, having each a salary of six hundred dollars; and twenty-five curates, five for the city of NewOrleans and twenty for as many country parishes, who receive each from three hundred and sixty to four hundred and eighty dollars a year. Those salaries, except that of the bishop, together with an allowance for sacristans and chapel expences, are paid by the treasury at New-Orleans, and amount annually to thirteen thousand dollars.
There is also at that place a convent of Ursalines, to which is attached about a thousand acres of land, rented out in three plantations. The nuns are now in number not more than ten or twelve, and are all French. There were formerly about the same number of Spanish ladies belonging to the order, but they retired to Havanna during the period when it was expected that the province would be transferred to France. The
remaining nuns receive young ladies as boarders, and instruct them in reading, writing, and needle-work.
They have always acted with great propriety, and are generally respected and beloved throughout the province. With the assistance of an annual allowance of six hundred dollars from the treasury, they always support and educate twelve female orphans.
THE LOUISIANA TERRITORY.
From McMaster's History of the People of the United States, Vol. II., 631.
The Province of Louisiana, as the region came to be called, was to the Americans of that day an unknown land. Not a boundary was defined. Not a scrap of trustworthy information concerning the region was to be obtained. Meagre accounts of what travellers had seen on the Missouri, of what hunters and trappers knew of the upper Mississippi, of what the Indians said were the features of the great plains that stretched away toward the setting sun, had indeed reached the officials; and out of these was constructed the most remarkable document any President has ever transmitted to Congress. It told of a tribe of Indians of gigantic stature; of tall bluffs faced with stone and carved by the hand of Nature into what seemed a multitude of antique towers; of land so fertile as to yield the necessaries of life almost spontaneously; of an immense prairie covered with buffalo, and producing nothing but grass because the soil was far too rich for the growth of trees; and how a thousand miles up the Missouri was a vast mountain of salt. The length was one hundred and eighty miles; the breadth was forty-five. Not a tree, not so much as a shrub, was on it; but, all glittering white, it rose from the earth a solid mountain of rock salt, with streams of saline water flowing from the fissures and cavities at its base. The story, the account admitted, might well seem incredible; but, unhappily for the doubters, bushels of the salt had been shown by traders to the people at St. Louis and Marietta.
Even this assurance failed to convince the Federalists. Everywhere they read the story with the scoffs and jeers it so richly deserved. Can the mountain, one journal asked, be
Lot's wife? Has the President, asked another, been reading the "Mysteries of Udolpho"? What a dreadful glare it must make on a sunshiny day! exclaimed a third. No trees on it? How strange! There ought surely to be a salt eagle to perch on the summit and a salt mammoth to clamber up its side. The President, being a cautious philosopher, has surely been afraid to tell us all. He must have kept much back, else we should have seen some samples from that vale of hasty-pudding and that lake of real old Irish usquebaugh that lies at the mountain's base. The stories told fourteen years since about the Ohio country are now surpassed. The pumpkin-vines, the hoop-snakes, the shoe-and-stocking tree of the Muskingum, are but "pepper-corns" beside the mountain of salt.
Bad as was the Federal wit, the labored attempts of the Republican journals to prove the existence of the mountain were more stupid still. The fact was pronounced undoubted. Bits of the salt had reached the President; nay, were to be seen at Washington, at New York, at Boston among the curiosities of Mr. Turell's museum. There the editor of the Columbian Centinel had the impudence to assure his readers he had seen a piece the size of a hen's egg from the banks of the Missouri. But one had the courage and good sense to declare the story was half a fable. The editor of the National Ægis did not, he asserted, for a moment believe that a huge mountain of salt stood gleaming and glittering in the sun. The deposit was probably a great deep mine, a mountain in extent underground. Neither the President nor any member of the government had explored Louisiana. In describing the country, such facts had to be used as were supplied by travellers, and that class of travellers so much disposed to magnify mole-hills into mountains. What wonder, then, that some fabulous embellishments crept into the account which, undoubtedly, the President sent to Congress without reading through!
THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE.
From Henry Adams's History of the United States, II. 48.
Livingston had achieved the greatest diplomatic success recorded in American history. Neither Franklin, Jay, Gallatin, nor any other American diplomatist was so fortunate as Living