THE Choctaw Indians in De Beauchamps' time occupied most of the territory from the Tombigbee River westward to the Mississippi and on account of their number, upwards of ten thousand, were among the most powerful of the southern tribes. A number of them having been sold into slavery by the South Carolinians, they were, immediately after the founding of Mobile, in 1702, easily persuaded to abandon the English and ally themselves with the French. They continued united in their adherence to the French until 1735 when, at the "pressing engagement of a prime magistrate" of South Carolina, James Adair of Charleston undertook to open a trade with them. Adair at that time was near the beginning of his forty years of experience as a trader among the southern red men, from which he wrote The History of the American Indians. He gained an audience with Red Shoe, a Machiavellian chief, at an opportune moment of his resentment toward an offending French man, satisfied him that whisky and ammunition could be had from the English at lower prices than from the French, and from that day until the end of the French-English conflict in America the Choctaws were divided into English and French factions.

In March, 1746, while the French party were gone to Mobile to receive their presents, Red Shoe was busy attempting to bring about peace between the Choctaws and the Chickasaws, who were adherents of the English. The chiefs of the French party returning in time to defeat his efforts, Red Shoe, in a fit of anger, ordered the assassination of Chevalier de Verbois and two other Frenchmen, and it was for the purpose of exacting satisfaction for this act that De Beauchamps undertook the mission of which the journal here printed is an account.

Little is known of De Beauchamps except what may be learned from his journal. A manuscript copy of this is in the Archives Nationales, Paris: Colonies F 3: 24, ff. 422-445. The translation from the French which is here printed is by Mr. Waldo Gifford Leland.

Source: Travels in the American Colonies

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