Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2




The Territorial Papers of the United States. Compiled and

edited by Clarence E. Carter. Vol. XIII, The Territory of Louisi-

ana-Missouri, 1803-1806. (Washington, Government Printing Office,

1948. xi + 641p. $3.50.)

This is the first of three volumes devoted to what the editor

calls, for lack of a simpler name, the Territory of Louisiana-

Missouri-the part of the Louisiana Purchase to the north of the

present state of Louisiana, called officially the District of Louisiana

(1804-5), the Territory of Louisiana (1805-12), and the Territory

of Missouri (1812-21). Most of the documents pertain to the for-

mation of the new units and to the administration of Governor

James Wilkinson. The collection is an unusually rich one. As is

his custom, Professor Carter pays his respects to other editors and

series in his invaluable footnotes and devotes his space to hitherto

unpublished and (to most persons) otherwise inaccessible materials.

The Burr conspiracy, which has been fully documented elsewhere,

is left aside; in fact, there are only two references to Burr, both

concerned with the appointment of a territorial secretary.

Though Governor Wilkinson contrasted the populations of

Michigan and Louisiana as well as their climates (p. 370), those

who have followed Professor Carter's volumes on the Old North-

west will note striking similarities. Jefferson himself noted "the

same [violent dissensions] in the territories of Louisiana and

Michigan" as in Mississippi (To Governor Robert Williams, Novem-

ber 1, 1807, Writings [memorial ed., 20 vols., Washington, 1903-4],

XI, 390). While officials exchanged the usual charges of Federalism

and of private improprieties, the citizens adapted themselves

quickly to their new country's representative forms and to their

new leaders' partisanship. Jefferson was soon justified in his hope

that the governor and judges might "draw their laws & organiza-

tion to the mould of ours by degrees as they find practicable"

(p. 101), whether because of the population's readiness or the

officers' skill and tact or "their utmost tenderness to the civil rights