Saturday, July 6, 2013

250 Years Ago ... July 6, 1763

On June 29, 2013, Jean-Jacques Blaise D'Abbadie, the new French Director-General of the colony of Louisiana arrived in New Orleans, replacing Governor Kerlerec.  D'Abbadie's main responsibility was to see to the orderly transition to Britain of the land east of the Mississippi.   Kerlerec himself did not leave until October, providing for an orderly transition.

One week later, on July 6, 1643, D'Abbadie confirmed the trade license and monopoly granted to Maxent, Laclede & Co.  D'Abbadie was originally from Bearn, only fifty miles from where Laclede was from.  He was acquainted with the Laclede family.  That connection could only be beneficial to Maxent & Laclede's venture.

But when the license was signed, Laclede was due to leave with the annual royal convoy traveling up the Mississippi one month later.  Since one month was not nearly enough time to put together the trade goods necessary for such a venture, historians believe that the venture had received the blessing of Kerlerec long before this date.

"Only Kerlerec possessed the power, patronage, and perceptive vision to sponsor Maxent's enterprise, and he had to have issued the trade license in 1762 to give the new company the time to Indian trade goods from the merchant houses of Le Leu in New Rochelle.  The sailing time from that French port to to New Orleans ranged from fourteen to twenty-one weeks, so Maxent and Laclede needed as much advanced notice as possible in order to outfit an expedition to the Illinois country by early August 1763, when the regularly scheduled royal convoy had to depart due to river conditions. "  Founding St. Louis:  First City of the New West by Frederick Fausz.

*Part of my continuing blog series leading up to the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis in February 2014.

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