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Relations with Spain.

Extract of a letter from Mr. Erving to Mr. Adams, dated

MADRID, April 26, 1818.

right line to the source of the river Perdido, and following the river Mobile in its lower part, and the bay of that name, returning by the seacoast towards the west, comprehending all the creeks, entries, and islands adjacent, which actually be to terminate it [the negotiation] here. In the I perceive that Mr. Pizarro would be very glad long to Spain, till it reaches the west line of the meantime, I shall continue to work with him, to United States, then, returning by their northern the end that his communications to Mr. Onis line, comprehending all the waste lands which may be made as favorable as possible to a prompt belong, or may belong to Spain, and which are adjustment of it at Washington. In this view, I in dispute or reclamation with the United States, asked him yesterday what had been said respectaccording to the tenor of the treaties; and, also, ing Florida. He answered vaguely; but I perall the waste land not ceded to any other indi-ceived that there was some question of passing it vidual, which is between the river Hijuelos, in to the United States in compensation for the East Florida, and the river St. Lucia, drawing a claims. I therefore begged him to prepare, in line from the source of one river to the source his instructions to Mr. Onis, for a difficulty which of the other, and following, by the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, from the mouth of the Hijue- kind should be proposed; that the claims in quesmust certainly arise if any "transaction" of that los to the point of Tancha, and, doubling this, tion would probably be liquidated by the United by the coast of the Gulf of Florida, to the mouth States, in such form, by commission or otherwise, of the river St. Lucia, with the islands, &c., ad- as might be most convenient to themselves; but jacent." the lands. Now, the King had lately given all that, finally, they must be paid out of the sale of those lands away, (as I had duly informed my Government;) to complete the "transaction," it would, therefore, be absolutely necessary that the whole of those grants should be cancelled. Mr. Pizarro here held me a long discourse about sovereignty, territorial property, &c. I told him that we had no difference of opinion about those distinctions, and the other matter connected with them, but that his error was in supposing we meant to pay for the sovereignty only. We did not estimate that so highly as he imagined. I enlarged very much upon whatever relates to these points, and brought him to consent that given to the grantees in New Spain, or elsewhere. these grants might be cancelled, and indemnity

Considering the contents of this exposition, and attending to the merit of the individual, and his accredited zeal for my royal service, as also to the advantages to result to the State from peopling the said countries, I have thought proper to accede to the favor which he solicits, in as far as it be not opposed to the laws of these my dominions, and I communicated it to my Council of the Indies, for its fulfilment, in a royal order of the 2d of February last. Consequently, I command and charge you, by this my royal scroll, (cedula,) that, conforming to the laws which regulate in these affairs, and without prejudice to third persons, you efficaciously aid the execution of the said grant or favor, taking all the measures which may conduce to its due effect, as also to the augmentation of the population, agriculture, and commerce of the aforesaid possessions, giving account, from time to time, of the progress made; for this is my will, and that due notice shall be taken of this cedula in the Accountant General's Department of the Indies.

Dated at the Palace, March 10, 1818.

1, THE KING. It is rubricated by order of our Lord the King: ESTEVAN VAREA. It is rubricated-fees two hundred and forty reals of plate. [Here follow four signatures.] To the GOVERNOR and CAPTAIN GENERAL of the island of Cuba and its district, that he may do what is suitable, to the end that the favor granted to Don Pedro de Vargas of various lands situated in

the Floridas, and other things therein mentioned,

may have effect.


[Here follows a signature.] Taken notice of this in the Department of the Accountant General of the Indies, Madrid, March 13, 1818.


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say "brought him to consent"-I mean that he said enough to convince me that there will be no difficulty on this head. I am not so certain that I have induced him to send, by this courier, such instructions on it to Mr. Onis as may render another reference to his Government unnecessary; but I propose to see him again to-morrow, and to re-urge the matter.

Extract of a letter from the same to the same, dated
MADRID, May 14, 1818.

In my last private letter (which was dated Pizarro and myself upon the subject of the grants April 26) I related to you what passed between Mr. of lands in the Floridas, lately made by the King, and I mentioned that I should see him the day following, and endeavor to press my opinion on that point in such way as, if possible, to obtain that he might in advance instruct Mr. Onis in conformity to it. I saw him on the 27th, as I proposed, before the departure of his courier; whether I produced the desired effect, or not, cannot positively say; but, immediately after, he wrote to the Council of the Indies, in consequence of which the council sent orders to the Duke of Alagon and the Count de Punon Rostro, directing them not to make sales of the lands

Relations with Spain.

granted to them; this fact, which I had received through a private channel, I ascertained yesterday in conversation with Mr. Pizarro. I cannot find that the council has written to the other grantee, Vargas, but Mr. Pizarro said that it should have done so. Be that as it may, all sales made by the grantees are, ab initio, void, by the laws of the Indies; there are obligations, also, of a very onerous kind, imposed by those laws on all grantees, calculated, in fine, to produce the objects which such grants have in view, viz. the population and cultivation of the territory-obligations which grantees of large tracts (under a prohibition to make sale) cannot possibly fulfil; least of all such grantees as these, who, besides not having a cent, are overwhelmed with debt.

Extract of a letter from the same to the same, dated

MADRID, June 12, 1818.

He [Mr. Pizarro] then entered into the principal matters in question, and, first, spoke of the limits on the side of Florida. He concluded this subject by saying that though the King, with a desire to accommodate himself to the views of the United States, had concluded to make the cession, and to make it as valuable as possible to the United States, as I had seen in the promptitude with which he had acted on my suggestion, and given orders to the Council of Indies relative to the late grants, (as particularly communicated to you in my private letters of May 14,) yet His Majesty was fully aware that the value of the public lands in the territory to be ceded would be infinitely beyond what the United States could demand under the head of indemnities; hence, it was reasonable to expect that the difference should be made up to him by

concessions on the other side.

Don Jose Pizarro to Mr. Erving.

PALACE, July 8, 1818. The First Secretary of State has the honor of transmitting to the Minister of the United States the copy of a paragraph of a note of the 7th of February, 1803, (and propositions which accompanied it,) to Don Pedro Cevallos ; and he avails himself of this occasion to repeat the assurance

of his consideration.

Copy of some paragraphs of a note directed to Don Pedro Cevallos, on the 7th February, 1803, by Mr. Charles Pinckney, Minister of the United States. To obtain this, they have authorized me to say that, should His Majesty be now inclined to sell to the United States his possessions on the east side of the Mississippi, or between that and the river Mobile, (agreeably to the propositions enclosed,) the United States will make to His Majesty, and I do now make, in their name, the important offer of guarantying to him and his successors his dominions beyond the Mississippi.

sessions of His Catholic Majesty on the east side of the river Mississippi, for which they will pay dollars.

2d. They will purchase these possessions, for which they will pay dollars; and, moreover, guaranty to His Majesty and his successors his possessions beyond the Mississippi.

3d. They will purchase the country between the rivers Mississippi and Mobile, belonging to His Catholic Majesty, and also places of deposite near the mouths of the other navigable rivers passing from their territory through either of the Floridas, for which they will pay dollars, or enter into other obligations which may be thought equivalent to the acquisition.

4th. If neither of these propositions can be acceded to, they will then purchase certain tracts of country on the banks of the Mississippi, and the other rivers passing from their territory into that of His Catholic Majesty, for which they will pay tions which may be thought equivalent to the dollars, or enter into other obliga


Mr. Erving to Don Jose Pizarro.

MADRID, July 9, 1818. SIR: I have had the honor to receive your excellency's note of yesterday's date, enclosing a paragraph from a note addressed to this Government on the 7th of February, 1803, by Mr. Pinckney, at that time Minister of the United States at this Court, together with certain proposals of the same Minister, to which the paragraph cited refers.

Though I find that these proposals are as explicit in their form as your excellency in conversation stated them to be, yet I also find, as I presumed, that they were not made or renewed by the special mission which treated with Mr. Cevallos in the year 1805, and that they do not affect and cannot receive any application to the great questions now under consideration. They, in fact, offer the United States as guarantee of the Mississippi, in part consideration for cessions His Majesty's possessions on the right bank of which he was to make of the whole of his then possessions, or certain districts of them to the namely, on the 30th April, 1803, the greater part eastward of that river; but posterior to this offer, of the territory thus proposed to be purchased, and the whole thus proposed to be guarantied, passed into the possession of, and now make part of the United States. Thus the state of possession in that quarter having been changed, the motive to guaranty on one side, and the necessity to receive a guaranty on the other having ceased, all that passed upon the subject heretofore is as though it were obliterated from the records.

The only security which occurs to me as possible to be stipulated, under present circumstances, is that of the thirty leagues desert, which I mentioned in our two last conversations; and, in fact, this kind of material security in transactions be Propositions on the part of the United States. tween two great nations ought, according to my 1st. The United States will purchase the pos-apprehension, always to have the preference over 15th CoN. 2d SESS.—59

Relations with Spain.

the other kind of stipulations; for, though such stipulations should be most religiously observed, even in the extreme cases wherein, by the universal practice of nations, they are deviated from or altogether dispensed with, yet, in the still greater extremity of war, they cease to be binding, of course, and cannot be renewed but after the war, and then the inducement to renew them may have ceased; whereas the material security of which I speak always remains. War does not cultivate deserts, but it makes them. However, these and other important considerations belong ing to the subject will be duly deliberated on by His Majesty's Government. I can only say that, if my suggestion should be adopted, I shall be ready to put it into form, and with that I consider that the only great difficulty to a happy termination of our differences is removed.

I renew to your excellency assurances of my very distinguished consideration.


Don Jose Pizarro to Mr. Erving.

PALACE, July 9, 1818.

there, question, as Mr. Adams seems to suppose, of inviting the United States to take part in relations or ramifications belonging to any interests of the European Powers, nor in what he calls the labyrinth of their politics, but merely that one or more impartial Governments, friendly to both parties, should take cognizance of the data of fact and right on which they found respectively the demarcation of limits which each pretends to substantiate; which measure is, in effect, the same as that which the United States adopted in its last treaty with Great Britain for adjustments of a similar kind, there being no other difference between the two cases but in the greater or less importance of the territories in dispute.

In this state of things, and His Majesty animated with the most efficacious desire to employ whatever means are in his power to terminate satisfactorily all and every one of the points in question, I represented to His Majesty that you and I, in our fate conferences, had been of opinion that it might contribute to facilitate the arrangement of those points on which, hitherto, both Governments have not been able to come to accord, to carry forthwith into effect that on which they are already agreed; that is, the settlement of the reciprocal indemnities of Americans and Spaniards which were the object of the convention of 1802, for which only was wanting the ratification on the part of Spain, suspended for reasons and by circumstances which are notorious. The King instantly applauded this suggestion of mine and yours, and, desirous of giving to the United States efficient proofs of his desire of an arrangement on all the points, commanded me immediately to draw out a ratification of the said convention of August 11, 1802, to be sent to Don Luis de Onis, to the end that he may present the same, and exchange it for that of the United States; and I have the honor to enclose the adjoined copy for your due information.

SIR: In several late conferences with you I have had the honor to manifest to you the regrets of His Majesty that it had not been possible yet to terminate the discussions depending between the two Governments, as His Majesty flattered himself might be done in consequence of the instructions given to his Minister Plenipotentiary, especially since, on the part of the King, there had not been, nor is there, any objection to carry into effect the arrangement of the indemnities reciprocally claimed by Spaniards and Americans; nor to proceed to the settlement of limits upon grounds conforming to the treaties and to continual and uninterrupted possession; nor for Spain to cede to the United States the two Floridas for a reasonable equivalent exchange in territory to the west of the Mississippi; nor, The termination of this point, already agreed finally, in case of not being able to come to ac- on, in no respect ean embarrass the ulterior procord on all the pending questions, and especiallygress of the negotiation upon the others; and if those of limits, to refer to the arbitration or me- Don Luis de Onis, pursuant to his first instrucdiation of one, two, or more Powers, friends of tions, or to the explanations which subsequently both parties, without preventing, after the limit on two occasions have been given to him, or bewhich should appear to be just should be settled cause the Government of the United States has by such arbitration or mediation, that we should reduced its demands to terms more compatible proceed to effect, by means of the same media-with the rights of Spain, shall, on the arrival of tion, or without it, if it should accommodate the said ratification, have already settled this point United States, an exchange of the two Floridas conjointly with the others, there will not there» for equivalent territory to the west of the Mis-fore result any kind of embarrassment or contrasissippi. diction, since the recognition of the reciprocal The King thought of this arbitration as the indemnities between Spaniards and Americans, most certain and prompt mean of terminating and the mode of liquidating them, (the only ob the discussion of limits, each party exposing bejects comprehended by the convention of 1802,) fore the arbitrating or mediating Powers the will always have to enter in the new arrange. titles or grounds on which it rested its rights and ment which may have been effected or may take pretensions; and he has not been able to change place; and only in the manner of paying the his opinion on seeing the answer given upon this debt which shall result from the liquidations point by the Secretary of State of the United made can there be or arise hereafter any altercaStates to Don Luis de Onis; for, in the proposal tion, in case the territorial arrrangements should made by that Minister Plenipotentiary, by ex-be combined with the other indemnifications. press order of His Majesty, respecting said medi- His Majesty hopes that the United States will ation or arbitration, there has not been, nor is see in this measure a proof of his friendly dispo

Relations with Spain.

sitions, and, if he may flatter himself with others equal and reciprocal on the part of the Government of the United States, he does not doubt that shortly will disappear the difficulties which hitherto have opposed themselves to the desired arrangements. The political, commercial, and territorial interest of the United States and Spain are not opposed to each other; extraneous circumstances, and independent, perhaps, of the will of both Governments, have been able to complicate and embarrass their political relations; a sincere desire to understand each other, and to approximate cordially, each ceding something of that which he supposes that he has a right to exact of the other, may perhaps be the commencement of a new order of things, in which the Government of Spain and that of the United States, far from occupying themselves in disagreeable discussions, will mutually contribute to augment the prosperity and well-being of both nations.

No occupation will be to me more agreeable than that of employing my weak efforts in serving the King, my master, in so interesting an object; and I should not do the justice which I owe to your rights, and conciliatory and friendly dispositions, if I were not persuaded that you will lay the whole before your Government in the same temper.

As Don Jose Martinez, who came from the United States last month with despatches from Don Luis de Onis, is to return thither, I notify you thereof, that you may, if you please, profit of this opportunity to send yours to that country. I renew to you, &c. JOSE PIZARRO.

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undecided on in the same, and others of a different nature, though of not less importance, which could not take effect on account of posterior occurrences in Spain, which are quite notorious; and I, now considering that in the present circumstances to carry forthwith into pure and due effect the stipulations of the said convention of 11th August, 1802, far from impeding the course and desired termination of the other questions depending between the two Governments, may contribute to facilitate the most prompt and satisfactory arrangement of all of them, and having seen and examined the said convention, which contains seven articles, the form and tenor of which is as follows:

[Here the convention is copied.]

Therefore have concluded to approve and ratify whatever the said convention contains in its seven articles, as in virtue of these presents I do approve and ratify, in the best and most am ple form that I can, promising, on the faith and word of a King, to fulfil it and observe it, and to cause it to be fulfilled and observed, wholly, as though I myself had made and signed it. In testimony whereof, I have ordered to be despatched the present, signed with my hand, sealed with my secret seal, and attested by my underwritten Councillor and First Secretary of State and Despatch. Given in Madrid this 9th of July, 1818,



Mr. Erving to Don Jose Pizarro.

MADRID, July 16, 1818. SIR: It was not till the evening of the 13th instant that I had the honor to receive your excellency's note of the 9th, communicating to me a copy of His Catholic Majesty's ratification of the convention made between the United States and Spain on the 11th August, 1802.

Whereas, on the 11th day of August, 1802, In the late conferences which I have had there was concluded and signed in Madrid, be- with you, I have received with great satisfactween Don Pedro Cevallos, First Secretary of tion the assurances which you have given to State of the King, my august father and lord, me of your sincere desire to terminate, by a genand Mr. Charles Pinckney, Minister Plenipoten eral arrangement, all the questions in discussion tiary of my great and good friends the United between our two Governments. I do full justice States of America, competently authorized there- to the conciliatory dispositions of your excellency, to by their respective Governments, a conven- and am persuaded that the pressing importance of tion, which had for its object the reciprocal in- such an adjustment has not escaped your en demnity for losses, damages, and injuries which lightened mind; but, however painful may be had accrued during the war then concluded, in the disappointment of His Majesty at finding that consequence of excesses committed by individ-a favorable conclusion to the negotiations has uals of both nations against the law of nations or not resulted from the instructions heretofore sent the existing treaty; and no determined time hav-to Don Luis de Onis, I cannot but remind you ing been fixed for the correspondent ratification, the said convention was ratified by the President of the United States, with consent of the Senate of the same, a year and a half after its conclusion; and on the part of Spain the ratification was further deferred, on account of the desire manifested to regulate at one and the same time. not only the points determined on by the said convention, but also those which had remained

that I have not omitted to assure His Majesty's Cabinet, through you, that those instructions would be found to be wholly inadequate to the object. The causes of their failure are so perfectly apparent in the correspondence between the Minister and the Secretary of State of the United States, which, by order of the President, has been laid before Congress, that I may be excused from entering further into the matter.

Relations with Spain.

I receive with pleasure whatever may contri-to His Majesty, on the part of the United States, bute to the great object in view; and though the of the guaranty of his dominions situated beyond convention of 1802 embraces but a portion of the the Mississippi, or otherwise beyond the western claims of the United States of the same nature, boundary line, to be agreed upon in the final adyet, considering it as a preliminary to a similar justment; the guaranty of which, forming a part adjustment of the whole of such claims, as well of the stipulations of that adjustment, would, in as of those for French spoliations specially re- my opinion, be a more effectual means of faciliserved by it, and trusting that it may, as your tating the final conclusion of the points dependexcellency hopes, lay a foundation for an amica-ing, not only from its essential importance, but ble settlement of the territorial questions now in as being the most conclusive evidence of a desire discussion, I have lost no time in transmitting on the part of the United States to preserve and a copy of your communication to my Govern- perpetuate a good intelligence with the Government of Spain; and the more agreeable to His Majesty, as being a spontaneous offer of the United States, on whose behalf the proposition was formally made without any previous transaction or request on the part of the Spanish Gov


I understand, also, with your excellency, that this ratification can be no obstacle to any general transaction on the whole of the matters in dispute which may be hereafter made, and that it is not to interfere with, but to be made wholly sub-ernment. ordinate and subservient to, whatever arrange- Upon which you were pleased to state to me ment Mr. Onis may possibly have entered into that you had no previous knowledge of the said with my Government, in pursuance of the in-offer of a guaranty being made by your predecesstructions which you have lately sent to that Minister.

I desire to avail myself of your obliging offer to transmit my despatches for the United States by Don Jose Martinez, and request that you will be pleased to inform me when that gentleman will leave Madrid.

I renew to your excellency assurances of my very distinguished consideration.


Don Jose Pizarro to Mr. Erving.

sor on behalf of the United States, which you attributed to the dispersion and loss of a considerable part of the archives of the American legation at the time of the invasion of the French. I then offered to furnish you with a copy of the proposals made by Mr. Pinckney, and of that part of the note of 7th February, 1803, which enclosed them and specified their object; which copies were sent to you on the 9th instant.

In your answer of the 9th, you were pleased to acknowledge the receipt of those copies, and at the same time you had the goodness to enter into the subject-matter, not only on the particular point of the proffered guaranty, but you also offered other observations connected with the matters depending between the two Governments, the adjustment of which is so interesting to both countries.

the 7th of February, 1803, in case of his disposition to sell to them the Floridas, or a part of West Florida, was confined to the guaranty of the left bank of the Mississippi, or of Western Louisiana, as you conceive; and that the United States having acquired the whole of Louisiana by the treaty of the 30th of April, 1803, and the territory offered to be guarantied having been severed from His Majesty's dominions, the said offer had been annulled, or become extinct of itself, or by the want of its particular object.

SACEDON, July 19, 1818. SIR: In one of our late conferences I had the honor to state to you anew His Majesty's readiness to cede both of the Floridas to the United States, the acquisition of which appeared to be so essential to the growth and prosperity of the In adverting to your observations, you will perAmerican Union, in consideration of a suitable mit me to remark that I cannot agree with you equivalent to be made to His Majesty in a district so far as to persuade myself that the guaranty of territory situated to the westward of the Mis-offered to His Majesty by the United States, on sissippi. In adverting to the great importance of this cession, I was naturally led to recall to your recollection the contents of different notes addressed by the Minister of the United States, Mr. Charles Pinckney, to His Majesty's Government upon this subject, and particularly of that of the 7th of February, 1803, in which, having earnestly solicited, as he had already done in several preceding notes, the decision of His Majesty to sell to the American Government both Floridas, or at least that part of West Florida lying between the Mississippi and the Mobile, he of If you will take the trouble to examine attenfered formally, in the name and on the behalf of tively that offer and the proposals accompanying the United States, not only to pay in money theit, (for which purpose I think it proper to enclose value of the territory so ceded, but that the Uni-a copy of the whole note of the 7th of February, ted States, in case the said cession should take 1803) you will distinctly see that what the Unieffect, would further guaranty to the King and ted States offered to guaranty to His Majesty his successors his dominions situated beyond the was not the right bank of the Mississippi, but his Mississippi. The cession of the two Floridas dominions situated beyond the Mississippi-his being one of the objects contemplated in the pro- dominions beyond the Mississippi, as expressed posed adjustment, I stated to you that the con- in the said note, or his possessions beyond the tingency appeared to have approached, in consid- Mississippi, as expressed in the proposals. A eration of which the formal offer had been made proof that that offer embraced generally all the

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