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A Guide to the Papers of Pierre Clement Laussat: Napoleon's Prefect for the Colony of Louisiana and of General Claude Perrin Victor at the Historic N

Rosal, Angelita; Katz, Margaret; Peck, Renee; kukla, Jon (editor)

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ISBN 10: 0917860330 / ISBN 13: 9780917860331
Published by Historic New Orleans Collection, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A., 1993
Used Condition: Near Fine Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Guide to the Papers of Pierre Clement ...

Publisher: Historic New Orleans Collection, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Softcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

The papers of Pierre Clement Laussat chronicle the Louisiana Purchase. The guide describes each of the more than 600 letters and documents assembled by Napoleon's colonial prefect for Louisiana. It provides the researcher with a specific citation and a thorough description of each document together with an index allowing quick reference. "All Louisianians are Frenchmen at heart!" wrote Pierre Clement Laussat on his first evening in New Orleans in 1803. Napoleon's colonial prefect in Louisiana had been sent to the colony to reclaim the area from Spain. At the same time, however, negotiations between France and the United States that would result in the Louisiana Purchase were taking place. Laussat presided over formalities of a retrocession ceremony in November, accepting Louisiana from Spain; twenty days later, he represented France in the formal transfer of Louisiana to the United States. A Guide to the Papers of Pierre Clement Laussat contains materials dating from the time of Laussat's post in New Orleans and later posts in Martinique and French Guiana. Included with the Laussat materials are the thirty-eight items making up the papers of General Claude Perrin Victor, Napoleon's designated captain general for Louisiana. Victor was to have led an expeditionary force to the New World, but his troops never left Europe.

Review:

From November 30 to December 20, 1803, Pierre Clement Laussat ruled Louisiana as France's representative pending transfer of the colony to the United States. When he sailed for Martinique in April 1804 to assume the post of prefect, he took with him not only his own copies of his correspondence but also documents he had obtained from the Spaniards preparatory to his work of putting a value on the properties received from them and to governing. In addition, he carried signed, sealed copies of the instrument to transfer from Spain to France to the United States. The 599 manuscript items in this collection (a few are duplicates, a few translations of other documents in the collection) eventually made it to the family home in Pau, France. There they remained, preserved against vermin in packages liberally covered with cayenne pepper, until Sister Agnes-Josephine Pastwa saw them while researching in the family papers. She eventually brought them to the attention of the late Ernest Caliste Villere, a vice president of the board of directors of the Historic New Orleans Collection. Villere obtained them for the Collection in 1975. The Collection already had the Victor papers. Victor was the military commander assigned to occupy Louisiana for France. The thirty-eight items in his papers are mostly from 1802 and concern personnel and the outfitting of the expeditionary force. Although by no means providing a complete picture of the preparations or of Laussat's activities, these two complementary bodies of documents do provide important details of these stories.

The documents in each series are presented in strictly chronological order, beginning with a Spanish appraisal of buildings in New Orleans dated November 20, 1769, and ending, for Laussat, on October 6, 1805. Victor's materials end in 1803. Each document is fully described as to date, size, whether signed or not, and other technical details. A short summary of the contents is provided. These can almost be read like a story, complete with cross references by the editors. Pages from five documents are reproduced as end papers (his appointment by Napoleon) and in the text (two printed, two manuscript).

Besides the Laussat and Victor documents, the Guide also lists some thirteen items connected with Laussat in the Collection's holdings. These range from wax impressions of family seals to one of Pierre Clement's napkins and a cup and saucer set.

This is the second Laussat publication sponsored by the Historic New Orleans Collection. The first, Pastwa's translation of his Memoires of My Life (1978), has long been an essential tool for the study of this brief episode in Louisiana's history. With this publication, the Collection has further enriched our understanding of the Prefect's work, especially in the months leading up to the actual retrocession by Spain." --Paul E. Hoffman, Louisiana State University

"Laussat oversaw the transfer of the colony from Spain to France and from France to the United States and Victor was designated commander of an expedition to Louisiana that was canceled. The 612 items in the Laussat collection and the 38 in the Victor collection are calendared with brief descriptions of their contents. Access to their contents is provided by and excellent index." --Journal of the Early Republic

"The papers of Pierre Clement Laussat chronicle the Louisiana Purchase, one of the most significant events in American history. Napoleon's colonial prefect for Louisiana, Laussat oversaw the transfer of the colony from Spain to France and from France to the United States.

"A Guide to the Papers of Pierre Clement Laussat," edited by Jon Kukla, describes each of the more than 600 letters and documents assembled by Laussat and brings to life the many personalit --The Times-Picayune

"Laussat oversaw the transfer of the colony from Spain to France and from France to the United States and Victor was designated commander of an expedition to Louisiana that was canceled. The 612 items in the Laussat collection and the 38 in the Victor collection are calendared with brief descriptions of their contents. Access to their contents is provided by and excellent index." --Journal of the Early Republic

"The papers of Pierre Clement Laussat chronicle the Louisiana Purchase, one of the most significant events in American history. Napoleon's colonial prefect for Louisiana, Laussat oversaw the transfer of the colony from Spain to France and from France to the United States.

"A Guide to the Papers of Pierre Clement Laussat," edited by Jon Kukla, describes each of the more than 600 letters and documents assembled by Laussat and brings to life the many personalities involved in the historic transaction. Also included is a guide to the papers of Gen. Claude Perrin Victor, intended military commander of the Louisiana expedition.

This book provides researchers with a specific citation and a thorough description of each document together with an index that facilitates quick reference.

Besides being the best archival facility in the state, the Historic New Orleans Collection also produces some of the finest publications dealing withthe state of Louisiana. "A Guide to the Papers of Pierre Clement Laussat" is an excellent example of this. This is an indispensable book for those researchers seeking to better understand this part of Louisiana's colorful history. For collectors, it will be a welcome addition to library shelves..." --The Times-Picayune

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