A French Aristocrat in the American West: The Shattered Dreams of De Lassus De Luzieres

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-11-16
  • Publisher: Univ of Missouri Pr
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In 1790, Pierre-Charles de Lassus de Luziegrave;res gathered his wife and children and fled Revolutionary France. His trek to America was prompted by his "purchase" of two thousand acres situated on the bank of the Ohio River from the Scioto Land Company-the institution that infamously swindled French buyers and sold them worthless titles to property. When de Luziegrave;res arrived and realized he had been defrauded, he chose, in a momentous decision, not to return home to France. Instead, he committed to a life in North America and began planning a move to the Mississippi River valley. De Luziegrave;res dreamed of creating a vast commercial empire that would stretch across the frontier, extending the entire length of the Ohio River and also down the Mississippi from Ste. Genevieve to New Orleans. Though his grandiose goal was never realized, de Luziegrave;res energetically pursued other important initiatives. He founded the city of New Bourbon in what is now Missouri and recruited American settlers to move westward across the Mississippi River. The highlight of his career was being appointed Spanish commandant of the New Bourbon District, and his 1797 census of that community is an invaluable historical document. De Luziegrave;res was a significant political player during the final years of the Spanish regime in Louisiana, but likely his greatest contributions to American history are his extensive commentaries on the Mississippi frontier at the close of the colonial era. A French Aristocrat in the American West: The Shattered Dreams of De Lassus de Luziegrave;resis both a narrative of this remarkable manrs"s life and a compilation of his extensive writings. In Part I of the book, author Carl Ekberg offers a thorough account of de Luziegrave;res, from his life in Pre-Revolutionary France to his death in 1806 in his house in New Bourbon. Part II is a compilation, in translation, of de Luziegrave;resrs"s most compelling correspondence. Until now very little of his writing has been published, despite the fact that his letters constitute one of the largest bodies of writing ever produced by a French eacute;migreacute; in North America. Though de Luziegrave;resrs"s presence in early American history has been largely overlooked by scholars, the work left behind by this unlikely frontiersman merits closer inspection.A French Aristocrat in the American Westbrings the words and deeds of this fascinating man to the public for the first time.

Author Biography


Carl J. Ekberg is Professor Emeritus of History at Illinois State University. He is the author of many books, most recently Stealing Indian Women: Native Slavery in the Illinois Country.

Table of Contents

List of Plans and Mapsp. ix
List of Illustrationsp. xi
Forewordp. xiii
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introductionp. 1
From France to the Mississippi Valley
Flight from Francep. 7
The Ohio River Valleyp. 20
The Grand Enterprisep. 31
At Home in the Illinois Countryp. 50
The Grand Enterprise Collapsesp. 61
Americans Recruitedp. 73
Civil and Military Commandantp. 84
End of the Adventurep. 98
Source Documents
De Luzières to Carondelet, April 30, 1793p. 116
De Luzières to Carondelet, May 1, 1793p. 117
Peyroux de la Coudrenière to Carondelet, November 14, 1793p. 123
Edmund Genêt, "Harangue to the Free French," 1793p. 127
De Luzières to Carondelet, December 26, 1793p. 129
"Account of the Ohio River," winter 1793-1794p. 131
Trudeau to Carondelet, January 28, 1794p. 135
Louis Lorimier, "Harangue to Indians," February 8, 1794p. 138
De Luzières to Carondelet, April 6, 1794p. 139
De Luzières to Carondelet, September 17, 1794p. 141
De Luzières to Carondelet, October 17, 1794p. 143
Bartholémé Tardiveau to Carondelet, November 27, 1794p. 145
De Luzières to Carondelet, June 9, 1795p. 146
De Luzières to Gayoso de Lemos, November 20, 1795p. 147
De Lassus to Gayoso de Lemos, December 3, 1795p. 148
Louis Lorimier to Carondelet, December 22, 1795p. 149
De Luzières, "An Official Account of Louisiana," 1796p. 150
De Luzières to Carondelet, August 1, 1796p. 153
De Luzières to Carondelet, September 19, 1796p. 154
De Luzières to Carondelet, October 17, 1796p. 155
François Vallé to Carondelet, November 10, 1796p. 157
De Luzières to Bartholémé Tardiveau, February 2, 1797p. 158
De Luzières to Carondelet, June 12, 1797p. 159
De Luzières to Carondelet, September 21, 1797p. 160
De Luzières, Passport for Neptune and Jasmin, free blacks, September 27, 1797p. 161
De Luzières to Carondelet, October 1, 1797p. 162
De Luzières, "New Bourbon Census," December 1, 1797p. 164
De Luzières, "Indians of Various Tribes"p. 199
De Luzières, "Observations on the White Residents," December 1, 1797p. 201
De Luzières to Gayoso de Lemos, December 20, 1797p. 215
De Luzières to Governor Gayoso de Lemos, March 19, 1798p. 216
Slave Purchase, February 2, 1799p. 218
De Luzières, "Memorial to U.S. Congress," March 29, 1799p. 219
John Matthews, Oath of Loyalty to Spain, October 17, 1800p. 223
John Matthews, Real Estate Concession, October 20, 1800p. 224
De Luzières to de Lassus, April 10, 1804p. 225
Indexp. 227
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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