THE HISTORY OF LOUISIANA, OR OF THE WESTERN PARTS OF VIRGINIA AND CAROLINA
Containing a DESCRIPTION of the Countries that lie on both Sides of the River Missisippi. With an ACCOUNT of the SETTLEMENTS, INHABITANTS, SOIL, CLIMATE, AND PRODUCTS.
Translated from the FRENCH Of M. LE PAGE Du PRATZ;
With some Notes and Observations relating to our Colonies.
Supposedly is Benjamin Smith Bartonan owner of Le Page`s book.
Reblog, p. 145
Let us return to Manchac, where I quitted the Missisippi; which I shall cross, in order to visit the west side, as I have already done the east. I shall begin with the west coast, which resembles that to the east; but is still more dry and barren on the shore. On quitting that coast of white and crystal sand, in order to go northward, we meet five or six lakes, which communicate with one another, and which are, doubtless, remains of the sea. Between these lakes and the Missisippi, is an earth accumulated on the sand, and formed by the ooze of that river, as I said; between these lakes there is nothing but sand, on which there is so little earth, that the sand-bottom appears to view; so that we find there but little pasture, which some strayed buffaloes come to eat; and no trees, if we except a hill on the banks of one of these lakes, which is all covered with ever-green oaks, fit for ship-building. This spot may be a league in length by half a league in breadth; and was called Barataria, because enclosed by these lakes and their outlets, to form almost an island on dry land.
One league means 5556 meters or 5,5 kilometer.
Fort Bute or Manchac Post was established on a board between Florida and Louisiana in 1763 at the junction of Iberville River (Bayou Manchac) with the Mississippi River. It was an important military and trading post in British West Florida until captured by Spanish forces on 1779, during what became known as Battle of Fort Bute of the American Revolutionary War. Manchac was one of the originally-planned stations along the railroad, which were generally at ten-mile intervals. It was a part of the Canadian National Railway system.
Canadian! In Luisiana!
The name „Manchac” derives from a Choctaw expression for „rear entrance” and really – it was a sort or rear entrance to Lake Pontchartrain, a lake we know already – Halfway House Jazz Orchestra was playing its New Orlans Jazz 1925 – 1936 in a Halfway House what was build on a half way from New Orleans to that lake.
So if we see that sober, the Barataria Jazz have been somewhat similiar to the situation of giving a title Chelsea for a Jazz composition made in a studio located in Chelsea. Or something like that.
M. LE PAGE Du PRATZ was an interesting personality.
Antoine Simon Le Page Du Pratz was a Dutchman, as his birth in Holland about 1695 apparently proves. He died in 1775, just where available records do not tell us, but the probabilities are that he died in France, for it is said he entered the French Army, serving with the Dragoons, and saw service in Germany. While there is some speculation about all the foregoing, there can be no speculation about the statement that on May 25, 1718 he left La Rochelle, France, in one of three ships bound for a place called Louisiana.
For M. Le Page tells us about this in a three-volume work he wrote called, Histoire de la Louisiane, recognized as the authority to be consulted by all who have written on the early history of New Orleans and the Louisiana province.
Le Page, who arrived in Louisiana August 25, 1718, three months after leaving La Rochelle, spent four months at Dauphin Island before he and his men made their way to Bayou St. John where he set up a plantation. He had at last reached New Orleans, which he correctly states, „existed only in name,” and had to occupy an old lodge once used by an Acolapissa Indian. The young settler, he was only about 23 at the time, after arranging his shelter tells us: „A few days afterwards I purchased from a neighbour a native female slave, so as to have a woman to cook for us. My slave and I could not speak each other’s language; but I made myself understood by means of signs.” This slave, a girl of the Chitimacha tribe, remained with Le Page for years, and one draws the inference that she was possessed of a vigorous personality, and was not devoid of charm or bravery. Le Page writes that when frightened by an alligator approaching his camp fire, he ran to the lodge for his gun. However, the Indian girl calmly picked up a stick and hammered the ‚gator so lustily on its nose that it retreated. As Le Page arrived with his gun, ready to shoot „the monster,” he tells us: „She began to smile, and said many things which I did not comprehend, but she made me understand by signs, that there was no occasion for a gun to kill such a beast.”
It is unfortunate, for the purpose of sociological study, that this Indian girl appears so infrequently in the many accounts Le Page has left us in his highly interesting studies of early Louisiana and its original inhabitants. He does not even tell us the Indian girl’s name.
We are told that after living on the banks of Bayou St. John for about two years, he left for the bluff lands of the Natchez country. His Indian girl decided she would go with him, as she had relatives there. Hearing of her plan, her old father offered to buy her back from Le Page. The Chitimacha girl, however, refused to leave her master, whereupon, the Indian father performed a rite of his tribe, which made her the ward of the white man—a simple ceremony of joining hands.
Le Page spent eight years among the Natchez and what he wrote about them—their lives, their customs, their ceremonials—has been acknowledged to be the best and most accurate accounts we have of these original inhabitants of Louisiana. He has left us, in his splendid history, much information on the other Indian tribes of the lower Mississippi River country.
Antoine Simon Le Page Du Pratz tells us he spent sixteen years in Louisiana before returning to France in 1734. They were years well spent—to judge by what he wrote.
As it was written and published in the French language, Le Page’s history proved in many instances to be a tantalizing casket of historical treasure that could not be opened by those who had not mastered French. The original edition, published in Paris in 1758, a score of years after the author landed in New Orleans, was followed in 1763 by a two-volume edition in English, and eleven years later in 1774, by a one-volume edition in English, entitled: „The History of Louisiana, or of the Western Parts of Virginia and Carolina.” The texts in the English editions are identical.
Fortunately, early historians who could not read the French edition, were now able to read M. Le Page’s accounts of his adventures in the New World. Unfortunately, especially for present day historians, the English editions have become increasingly rare—many libraries do not have them on their shelves. Therefore, the present re-publication fills a long-felt want.
STANLEY CLISBY ARTHUR
(Mr. Arthur is a naturalist, historian and writer, and executive-director of the Louisiana State Museum.— J. S. W. Harmanson, Publisher.)
In Manchac went the young colonist from th Mississipi river, going either east or west. An here fe found Barataria. It s for him no place of resemblance on Don Quijote or Cervantes or Sancho Pans, but only a word meaning an an island on dry land, exactly as the place Sancho Pansa got als his Governement. It is exatly one hundred years after publishing a second part of Don Quijote, where Barataria was described. The name is already existing, given to the place for sure some years or maybe even some decades before.
I try modestly to put here my simple question:
Was the word Baratria invented by Cervantes which (VERY QUICKLY!!!) became synonyme to an island on dry land? (Was he word inventor? Or quotations author?) When it became proverbial?
Or was it always the description for it and Cervantes picked it as all writers do with words?