14 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI To appreciate the value of such a buffer, it should be noted that when the European war with England broke out in 1702, the population of the English colonies along the Atlantic was estimated to be 270,000, with perhaps 20,000 to 25,000 of those living in Carolina. At that same time, the population of French Louisiana was measured in the hundreds. The English also recognized the value of having the Native American as allies. Not only did the British foment trouble between the Chickasaws and the Choctaws, they enticed the Chickasaws into some direct attacks on the French. During the war, there was to be no invasion of enemy territory by either the French or the English, so neither added to their holdings. But even though the war ended in 1713, the relations between the French and the Chickasaws remained uneasy at best. The little colony was also beset by internal bickering. For whatever reason, perhaps poor diplomatic skills, Bienville was never held in the same high esteem by the French government as Iberville had been. When two of Bienville’s enemies in the colony accused him of stealing and selling government supplies, an official, if somewhat sloppy, investigation ensued. Bienville was exonerated, but the investigation brought to Louis XIV’s attention just how bad things were in the American colony that bore his name. The Sun King decided it was time to turn the operations of the colony over to a private company, hoping the profit motive could spur success. In 1712, a royal charter was issued to Antoine Crozat, a French financier, who was given a fifteen-year monopoly on trade and manufacturing in Louisiana. The French government also appointed a new governor, Antoine de la Mothe-Cadillac, a Frenchman who had served the French Crown in Canada. Cadillac, who fancied himself an aristocrat, was in the last years of his career. He had ingratiated himself to the French court at Versailles and had been appointed military commander over Canada, but soon he fell into a political squabble with the governor and found himself “promoted” to the post of governor of Louisiana. Cadillac had little desire to go to the wild Louisiana frontier, and it showed. He never had the common touch and exhibited open disdain for the colonists in Louisiana. He described them as “a heap of the dregs of Canada, jailbirds without subordination for religion and for government, addicted to vice primarily with the Indian women who they prefer to French women.” Bienville, though no longer governor, was “a kings officer” and was retained in Mobile, becoming what was described as “a shadow governor.” As writer Mary Ann Wells recounted, Bienville’s “experience in Indian affairs and in governing the colony could have been of value to Cadillac, but the temperaments of the two men precluded any form of cooperation. They personally loathed each other. A relatively minor dispute in 1714 ended with Bienville’s being placed under house arrest for twenty-four hours. Relations worsened when Bienville rejected Cadillac’s offer of his daughter to the Canadian in marriage.” Given the state of relations between the haughty Cadillac and the cocky Bienville, the tight confines of Fort Louis on Mobile Bay must have proven to be very close quarters indeed. With the struggling colony barely managing to stay afloat, the efforts of the French authorities during the period from 1699 to 1716 were necessarily concentrated on the area around the capital at Mobile. The solid bulk of the tiny European population of Louisiana was there, along with a few outposts along what is now the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The relations with the Native Americans of the area—the Biloxis, Pascagoulas, Moctobis, and Bayougoulas—were peaceful thanks to the natives’ tranquil nature and Iberville’s earlier diplomatic efforts. Therefore, scattered French settlements sprang up along the relatively safe coastline in the Pascagoula, Biloxi, and Bay St. Louis areas. Such was not the case in the colony’s interior lands. The area of present-day Mississippi, north of the Coast, was not settled by any colonists. It was home to the major tribes of Choctaw (central Mississippi), Chickasaw, (northeast Mississippi), and Natchez (southwest Mississippi), along with several smaller tribes that occupied lands along the Big Black, Tombigbee, and Yazoo watersheds. Trouble had begun in the 1680s when English slave traders ventured into the region and started buying Native American slaves for shipment to the sugar plantations in the Caribbean. Typically, the slave traders, usually from the Carolinas, would offer one tribe goods and valuables, particularly muskets and ammunition, in exchange for Native Americans kidnapped from other tribes. Naturally, this led to revenge attacks by the tribes who had suffered such kidnappings, and this cycle created turmoil throughout the interior region for thirty years, from about 1685—before the French even arrived—to 1715 when, for various reasons, the Native American slave trade collapsed. This Perhaps the problems of manpower and an under-developed economy could have been overcome had it not been for the harassment from the British.