We have been most cruelly disappointed. After all our expectations and hopes, after all the assurances we have received from General Mathews and Governor Mitchell and others, that we would never be abandoned by the U. States Government… we are surrendered… after we have attempted to throw off oppression.
(John Houstoun McIntosh to James Monroe, April 16, 1813)
[The messenger was] to mount his horse, if necessary, to travel among and stimulate the inhabitants of Florida to declare themselves independent and that he Governor C. or the government would defray the expenses.… I would conclude that both Gov. C. and the President both were highly delighted at seeing us led on and that the President… [was] determined to occupy this country, after we should subvert the Spanish[,…] yet felt some embarrassment in doing it.
(Fulwar Skipwith to John Graham, January 14, 1811)
We now return to Louisiana and West Florida, where the currents of economic force and imperial ambition observed in the previous chapter were also at work, and with similar effects upon the land.
The portion of the present state of Louisiana including its capital at Baton Rouge and extending nearly to Gulfport, Mississippi, remained part of West Florida for seven years after the rest of the state was purchased from Napoleon. These “Florida Parishes” were part of a sandy plain extending from Baton Rouge on the southwest and from Natchez on the northwest to Mobile on the east, looking southward upon a humid expanse seeming neither sea nor swamp nor shore but all confusedly at once. Even today, the Florida Parishes are remote from the picturesque plantations along the River Road to Baton Rouge, the roiling swell of the great river, the tourists, nostalgia, ghosts, and sugary recipes. The plains people are connected to the Mississippi along one of its old channels that left a west-to-east chain of shallow hazy marshy brackish lakes—Maurepas, Pontchartrain, and Borne—