|Back to the document|
|October 24, 1800|
Most illustrious Cabildo
Captain Juan Bautista Saraza and Ensign Pedro Galafate of the Battalion of Octoroons and Captain Pedro Tomas and Captain Juan Bautista Bacusa of the Battalion of Quadroons of the trained militia of the province of Louisiana, with the greatest reverence and due respect to Your lordship, come before you and expound: That through petition and pleas from various individuals who came in our company from the recent expedition executed in accepting Fort San Marcos de Apalache where the men experienced bad times such as irregularity of weather and nourishment, blistering heat due to the harsh season in which the expedition was undertaken, mosquitoes, night air, humidity, and other nuisances harmful to human nature, and, finally, shelling from the cannons which they expected to receive any moment.
The men give infinite thanks to the Most High for granting them their wish to come back to their homeland. To recompense them in some manner, to cheer up their spirit, so that they can forget the hardships of the expedition which they undertook---for which some people compared them to irrational animals which are only led and take shelter under the hot sun which bakes their brains---we jointly solicit the permission of the President of the Cabildo and Your Lordship to give weekly a public dance on Saturdays until the end of the next Carnival, beginning on the day of our most august sovereign Charles IV, which falls on the fourth of the coming month. The dance will not interfere with the one the white people regularly have, for they have their dance on Sundays.
Through the kindness of Don Bernardo Coquet, we have his permission to use his house for the dances. We ask that you be kind enough to the petitioners to provide them with the guards of the city who previously guarded the house when dances were given to prevent disorders. When we were on the expedition, we were informed that some people came to the dances that were given there, determined to disrupt the peaceful diversions---some by provoking fights, others by chewing vanilla and spitting it out for she purpose of producing an intolerable stench, others by putting chewed tobacco on the seats so that the women would stain their garments---in short, doing and causing as much havoc as they could. This example of maliciousness was never experienced in the innumerable dances that were given in the chosen house while the guards were present. The guards, once you give them orders to attend, will be anxious to come, owing to the special privileges we shall offer them on the nights the dance is given.
Therefore, we humbly plead that Your Lordship be kind enough to concede this solicitation which has nothing to do with violence and consequently will not cause any harm. This is the season for such diversion, both in America and in Europe. We shall always keep in our hearts your renowned benevolence and kindness.