Petition submitted by Captain La Gautrais, Vannes, [France], to the Citizens and Representatives [of France]
[While Genêt was intriguing in North America to wrest Louisiana from Spanish control, in France there was a growing movement for the retrocession of Louisiana. Advocates of restoration of Louisiana to French control presented a number of seductive arguments. With a French Louisiana, the French West Indies would be freed of their dependence on the United States for foodstuffs and timber. French ascendancy in the region would be a barrier to American expansion in the west and could provide the necessary leverage to compel the United States to serve the interests of France. French presence would bar British advances and would put France in a position possibly to expand into Spanish America. The documents that follow relate to the retrocession of Louisiana, and the various arguments contained in each are but variations on a theme.] La Gautrais, who claimed to be a spokesman for the inhabitants of Louisiana, demanded their freedom from Spanish rule. The Louisianians were French and wished to belong to the Republic. Louisiana's fertile territory offered great commercial advantages to the Republic. La Gautrais had consecrated his life to the defense and advancement of the Republic and offered, on behalf of the people of Louisiana, to dedicate his efforts to draw them out of their servitude. La Gautrais identified himself, after his signature, as Captain of the 2nd Battalion of the 11th Regiment of the Infantry stationed at Vannes.