Alexis de Tocqueville
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Down the Mississippi

Course of the Mississippi including Louisiana, the two Floridas, a part of the United States

The Great Yellow River
"Just one more word about the Mississippi, which in truth is scarcely worth bothering about. It is a great yellow river that flows rather gently through the deepest wilderness, passing through forests that in floods in the spring and fertilizes with the silt it carries. No hill looms on the horizon, only woods, woods, and more woods, along with reeds and vines. A deep silence reigns, and there is no trace of man, not even the smoke of an Indian camp."
(Letter to his mother, December 25, 1831)
Course of the Mississippi including Louisiana, the two Floridas, a part of the United States, engraving from 1803; Blérancourt, musée national de la Coopération franco-américaine
© RMN/Gérard Blot

Osages: a savage tribe of southern America

The Osages
"Last of all are the Osages. They live in ever-wandering tribes, go almost naked, seldom use firearms, and know no Europeans other than those who deal in fur. The Osages are the last tribe of the Southwest to enter into a treaty with the United States."
(Travels in America, Excerpt from a "Conversation with Mr. Houston.")
Osages: a savage tribe of southern America after Boilly; Blérancourt, musée national de la Coopération franco-américaine © RMN/Philippe Bernard

House in Louisiana, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur

A House in Louisiana
"Today, December 31, 1831, I visited a fine sugar plantation on the Mississippi, 50 leagues from New Orleans. It is home to 70 slaves. I was told that its income was around 5 to 6,000 dollars a year net of expenses, or 25 to 30,000 francs."
(Travels in America, Notebook E)
House in Louisiana, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur; collection Lesueur © MHN du Havre

View of the city of New Orleans, Louis Garneray

New Orleans
"Arrived in New Orleans. Forest of vessels. . I learned today that nearly 1,000 sailing ships and 770 steam ships entered the port of New Orleans in the year 1828. The number grows larger every year."
(Travels in America, portable notebook)
View of the city of New Orleans, Louis Garneray; Département des Estampes
© BNF

Presumed view of the fort of New Orleans, 1803

Prosperity
"At a time when the interior of the continent of North America was still entirely unknown to Europeans, the French established outposts in the wilderness from Canada to Louisiana
-a series of small forts which, once the country has been thoroughly explored, were recognized as the ideal places to build flourishing cities, perfectly located to attract commerce and command river traffic. . If we had succeeded, the English colonies would have been enveloped along a broad arc with Quebec and New Orleans at either end."
(Letter to his brother Hippolyte, November 26, 1831)
Presumed view of the fort of New Orleans, 1803; Blérancourt, musée national de la Coopération franco-américaine © RMN/Christian Jean