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||François Marie Perrin du Lac, a
French émigré, was an administrator in Saint Domingue during the time of the
fought on the side of the colonials against Toussaint L'Ouverture. In 1791, he accompanied French officials
to the United States to seek help from Congress to combat the insurrection. Prevented from returning to
France as a result of the war between France and England, he traveled through the United States and
explored the southern and western states, visiting Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, Maryland, and
Pennsylvania. The result of this journey was his Travels Through the Two Louisianas, and Among the
Savage Nations of the Missouri; Also, in the United States, Along the Ohio, and the Adjacent Provinces, in
1801, 1802, & 1803, published in London in 1807.
Like a number of other newcomers or visitors to New Orleans, du Lac found more to criticize than to praise.
His chapter on the city during the last days of Spanish rule begins, "New Orleans, at which I arrived in six
weeks, does not merit a favorable description." du Lac found the city dirty, smelly, and unhealthy, the
Spanish officials corrupt and foolish, the clergy debauched, and the Creoles vain and overly fond of
pleasure. Nevertheless, he lamented the loss of the French empire in the New World. On the page shown
here, he lists the income derived by Spain from the Louisiana colony (and hints that if not for Spanish
corruption and mismanagement, the colony could provide far more riches).
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