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M-526 Manuscript Letter From Pierre Clément de Laussat to Guillermo Duparc

ABSTRACT: Manuscript letter signed with a printed invitation from Pierre Clément de Laussat to Guillermo Duparc informing the latter of the Spanish retrocession of Louisiana to the French.

SCOPE: This collection provides rare insight into political, military, and social aspects of the Spanish transfer of Louisiana to France, as well as the final transfer to the United States through the Louisiana Purchase. The collection includes a letter and invitation sent from the last French Colonial Prefect of Louisiana, Pierre Clément de Laussat, to Captain Guillermo Duparc, commandant of the Point Coupée Post. The letter, dated December 10, 1803, informs Duparc of the Spanish retrocession of Louisiana to the French, includes orders for the transfer, and encourages Duparc to maintain the peace in his district. There are two additional pages with manuscript notes and calculations, and the printed invitation is for a gala to celebrate the transfer and honor the Spanish commander, the Marquis de Casa-Calvo, a brigadier of the Spanish armies. The soiree was held at Jumonville and served as a sign of the union and friendship between the Spanish and French governments.

EXTENT: Two pages.

HISTORY: Pierre Clément de Laussat was the last French Colonial Prefect of Louisiana. He arrived in New Orleans in late March 1803, a month before the Louisiana Purchase Treaty was signed in Paris. His immediate responsibility was to oversee the transfer of the territory from Spain to France, which had been ceded to them in the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1800. In May 1803 the Spanish commanders of Louisiana announced the forthcoming retrocession of Louisiana from Spanish to French control, a process that was formally completed on November 30th.

ACCESS: Due to the fragile nature of this collection, physical access may be restricted. Please contact the library for further information. Information on conducting research with the archival collections of the Library, including current building hours and reading room policies, can be found on our Research page. The St. Louis Mercantile Library is located on levels one and two of the Thomas Jefferson Library building on the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ north campus. 

PREFERRED CITATION: The preferred citation for this collection is “From the Special Collections of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri – St. Louis."