Confidential instructions issued by the [Minister of the Indies] Joseph de Gálvez, at San Lorenzo [de El Escorial], acting for His Majesty Charles III, to Bernardo de Gálvez
The King appointed Colonel Bernardo de Gálvez to be Acting Governor of the Province of Louisiana and issued a set of instructions consisting of thirty-six points. [Gálvez arrived in Louisiana and took office on 1777 January 1.] The instructions, [which Caughey summarized in his biography of Gálvez (68-69)], generally followed the proposals made by Captain Francisco Bouligny in his memorandum of 1776 September 1. The Gálvez instructions placed more emphasis on colonization and the introduction of new crops, which Bouligny had propounded in his memoir of 1776 August 10, and the theme of defense of the Province was paramount throughout the entire document. The following summary only touches upon those points not mentioned in Bouligny's September memorandum. [The Tulane copies of this document are incomplete.] Louisiana, the Spanish realized, formed the first barrier of protection of the Kingdom of New Spain against the English. Populating the sparsely occupied territory with new settlers would help deflect English incursions. Therefore, Gálvez was to welcome all immigrants, provided they be Roman Catholics, help them get started, and grant them land to cultivate. Increasing prosperity of the colony would also act as a deterrent to the English, the Spanish believed. Thus, the King appointed Captain Francisco Bouligny as Lieutenant Governor to assist Gálvez in matters pertaining to population, commerce, and friendship of the Indian nations. The new office received an appropriation of 40,000 pesos to carry out its functions. In order to improve the economy of Louisiana, the two officials were to promote shipbuilding and to encourage the raising of silkworms and the cultivation of tobacco, cotton, and hemp. Illicit trade with the English was to be suppressed. Gálvez and his advisors were to establish a new schedule of duties for the colony. Portuguese coins, some debased, some counterfeit, which French and English smugglers had introduced, were to be barred from circulation and only Spanish coins allowed. Investigations were to be undertaken to determine the feasibilty of mining saltpeter for the manufacture of gunpowder. The construction of royal highways was to be undertaken. Efforts were to be initiated to form alliances with Indian nations, especially those tribes that that formerly been loyal to the English. Gifts were to be used as inducements. [The instructions contained no mention of the establishment of the Sociedad económica de amigos del país or a Consulado de comercio.] Gálvez's predecessor Unzaga had already received confidential instructions in regard to the civil war in progress between the English and their North American colonists. Gálvez was to follow the orders and aid the colonists with the utmost secrecy. He was to secure and transmit to the Crown intelligence reports concerning affairs in the English colonies. For this purpose he was to send secret agents to infiltrate the area east of the Mississippi to gather information. Finally, Gálvez was instructed to obey the Laws of the Indies and other decrees and regulations that were in effect.