Imágenes de páginas

Relations with Spain.

of that part of the fifteenth article which stipulates that the flag shall cover the property.

The 2d, 3d, 4th, 21st, and the second clause of the 22d articles of the treaty of 1795, have either received their entire execution, and can no longer be considered as remaining in force, or have been rendered inoperative by subsequent events. Whatever relates in them to limits or to the navigation of the Mississippi, has been extinguished by the cession of Louisiana to France, and by her to the United States; with the exception of the line between the United States and Florida, which will also be annulled by the cession of Florida, which you now propose. I am authorized to agree to the confirmation and recognition of all the remaining articles of that treaty as still in force, and to assent to the exception proposed by you of part of the fifteenth article, to this extent: that if, hereafter, either of the contracting parties shall be at war with a third party, and the other neutral, the flag of the neutral shall cover the property of enemies whose Governments recognise the same principle, and not of others.

and in the ports of Spain, and will present an authentic statement of the prizes made, and of their value, that Spain may avail herself of it in such manner as she may deem just and proper. Upon the basis offered by your propositions, modified conformably to the observations now submitted to you, I am authorized to conclude a treaty with you; but, as the session of Congress is at hand, I am directed to request your immediate and frank reply to this communication. The President is deeply penetrated with the conviction that further protracted discussion of the points at issue between our Governments cannot terminate in a manner satisfactory to them. From your answer to this letter, he must conclude whether a final adjustment of all our differences is now to be accomplished, or whether all hope of such a desirable result is, on the part of the United States, to be abandoned.

I pray you to accept the assurance of my distinguished consideration. JOHN Q. ADAMS.

Don Luis de Onis to the Secretary of State.

Your sixth proposition is inadmissible. The United States do not know that any additional laws or declarations are necessary to secure the WASHINGTON, November 16, 1818. fulfilment, on the part of Spain, of her engage- SIR: I have attentively perused the note of the ments in the treaty of 1795. Numerous and just 31st of October last, which you addressed to me as their complaints have been of the violations by order of your Government, in answer to of that treaty, under the authority of Spain, they mine of the 24th of the same month, by which consider the Spanish Government fully compe- I perceive that you have received the Presi tent to make reparation for them, and to secure dent's orders not to take into consideration the the faithful observance of their engagements in legal titles and grounds on which Spain rests future without new laws or declarations. Nor are her rights and claims to the sovereignty of the they aware of any vague or arbitrary interpreta- territories and waters claimed by your Governtion in any of the ports of this Union, by which, ment as forming an integral part of Louisiana, contrary to the laws of nations, or to the stipula- as it was retroceded by His Catholic Majesty to tions of the treaty of 1795, the law is eluded. The France in 1800, and sold or ceded by the Govinterpretation or construction given to the stipu- ernment of that nation to the United States in lations of the treaty of 1795 within the United 1803. As these rights and claims rest on a basis States is subject to the decisions of the judicial as solid and as venerable as that which can be tribunals of the United States, who are bound to presented by the most equitable Government on consider all treaties as the supreme law of the earth to demonstrate its legitimate property to land. Their proceedings are all public, and their the country it possesses, I should be wanting in decisions upon all questions of interpretation are my duty were I not to maintain the same princirecorded and published. In this there is surely ples which I advanced in my former notes to you nothing vague or arbitrary; nothing requiring on this head. Being self-evident, they are as innew laws or declarations. Of the many com- controvertible and invariable as the fundamental plaints which you have addressed to this Gov- principles of universal justice. It is impossible ernment in relation to alleged transactions in our to reject or impugn them without attacking those ports, the deficiency has been, not in the meaning original and primitive titles which do, and ever or interpretation of the treaty, but in the proofs have sanctioned, throughout the whole world, the of the facts which you have stated, or which have rights of property and complete sovereignty enbeen reported to you, to bring the cases of com-joyed by all independent States and Kingdoms in plaint within the scope of the stipulations of the treaty.

In consideration of the cession of the Floridas by Spain, to redress and cancel the claims of the United States and their citizens upon Spain, and always understood that the late grants of the lands for which the indemnity for those claims is to be sought shall be held null and void, the Government of the United States will certify that they have not received any compensation from France for the injuries suffered from French privateers, Consuls, and tribunals, on the coasts

their respective acquisitions. You assert the indisputable right of the United States to the river Mississippi. I say, and the fact is obvious, that even admitting your assertion in its fullest latitude, notwithstanding no argument has ever been advanced by the United States to establish it, and that it is contradicted by the most unquestionable documents and proof, the pretension to extend your claims beyond the Missouri would always be inconsistent and exorbitant. Even the absurd and extravagant grant of Louis XIV. to Crozat does not point out a greater extent, and respects

Relations with Spain.

the frontiers of New Mexico and other Spanish settlements and possessions, which existed long before the time that grant was made, and before the famous expedition of M. de la Salle. Keeping, therefore, in view the truth of facts, and the immutable principles of things, and endeavoring to reconcile them with the sincere and uniform desire of His Catholic Majesty to remove, on his part, the obstacles that have opposed the amicable adjustment of all existing differences between the two Powers, as far as is consistent with the rights and dignity of his Royal Crown, I will approximate my proposals, as nearly as is possible for me, to those you have made me on the part of your Government.

The first refers to the satisfaction due by the United States to His Catholic Majesty and to his subjects, in consequence of the invasion and capture of Pensacola and other forts and territories in the Floridas. You must be sensible that it is impossible for me to desist from the demand of a just and adequate reparation or indemnity to His Majesty and the inhabitants of both provinces, and particularly those of Pensacola, for all losses and injuries by them sustained from the officers and troops of the United States. No principle can be adduced to support or justify the hos tile proceedings of General Jackson in Florida, marked as they are by a series of outrages unprecedented and unknown in history. The American commander, on that occasion, as your Government itself admits, acted contrary to the orders and instructions given to him. Public opinion in the United States has uniformly reprobated these excesses, as well as all the specious pretexts with which he has endeavored to gloss them over. The charges artfully produced against the Spanish commandants and officers are entirely frivolous, and are contradicted by the well-known truth of facts, and the formal declarations and statements of those same Spanish officers; so that, in every view of the case, the United States are in justice bound by the most solemn obligations to make satisfaction to the Crown and subjects of Spain for the said losses and injuries. The Spanish Government are in like manner entitled to the full amount of all revenue collected and received by the United States in the places and territories occupied by them in the said provinces; since, as the sovereignty of Spain is indisputable, she could in nowise be dispossessed of her right to receive her revenues; and this point was from that time reserved as an object of future discussion. I shall be happy to contribute as far as is in my power to this arrangement, and to the stipulation of a fair sum to be paid by the United States for all such damages, that all discussion may thus be speedily and amicably terminated.

My second proposal has been admitted by your Government, with this modification; that all grants and sales of lands made by His Catholic Majesty, or by lawful Spanish authorities in the Floridas, from the year 1802 to the present, shall be null and void. To this modification, in its absolute sense, I cannot assent, inasmuch as it is offensive to the dignity and imprescriptible rights

of the Crown of Spain, which, as the legitimate owner of both the Floridas, had a right to dispose of those lands as it pleased; and further, as the said modification would be productive of incalculable injury to the bona fide possessors, who have acquired, settled, and improved these tracts of land.

The extent of what I can agree to is, that the late grants made by His Majesty in the Floridas since the 24th of January last, the date of my first note announcing His Majesty's willingness to cede them to the United States, (the said grants having been made with a view to promote population, cultivation, and industry, and not with that of alienating them,) shall be declared null and void, in consideration of the grantees not having complied with the essential conditions of the cession, as has been the fact.

My third proposal refers to the boundary line to be established between the possessions of the Crown of Spain and those of the United States. Acceding, as far as is possible for me to do, to the modifications proposed by you, and with a view of offering to the United States an additional proof of my wish to remove existing diffi culties, I will undertake to admit the river Sabine instead of the Mermento as the boundary between the two Powers, from the Gulf of Mexico, on condition that the same line proposed by you shall run due north from the point where it crosses the Rio Roxo (Red river) until it strikes the Mississippi, and extend thence along the middle of the latter to its source, leaving to Spain the territory lying to the right, and to the United States the territory lying to the left of the same.

What you add respecting the extension of the same line beyond the Missouri along the Spanish possessions to the Pacific ocean exceeds, by its magnitude and its transcendency, all former demands and pretensions started by the United States. Confining myself, therefore, to the pow ers granted to me by my Sovereign, I am unable to stipulate anything on this point which may remain open for further negotiation, as I have no doubt of His Majesty's disposition to agree to the appointment of a joint commission to deter mine and establish the future boundaries from the source of the Mississippi to the north and west, in a manner conformably to the titles and documents of property and possession respective ly exhibited. Leaving, therefore, this point unsettled, as I have just observed, I conceive that my proposal for the adjustment of boundaries will not be attended with any difficulty whatever.

My fourth proposal to your Government has for its object the renunciation by both Governments and nations of all claims for spoliations respectively suffered by either of the two Powers or their subjects until the signing of the treaty. This proposal has been admitted by your Gov. ernment, with the exception of such claims as American citizens may have on the subjects of His Catholic Majesty or on the Spanish Government, and which have not been laid before the Department of State of the United States, or their

Relations with Spain.

Minister at the Court of Spain. I have no hesitation in assenting to this exception, but it should be made reciprocal for the subjects of the Crown of Spain, who may be entitled to claims on American citizens, or on the Government of the United States, and which have not yet been presented in due form to His Majesty's Secretary of State, or his Minister near the United States. My proposal will thus be free from difficulty, and conform to the modifications you have suggested.

dies as will put it out of the power of cupidity or iniquity to defeat or elude them. In vain should we endeavor amicably to settle and accommodate all existing differences, and thus establish peace and good understanding between the two nations, if the practice of these abuses, and the course of these hostilities and piracies on the commerce and navigation of Spain should, as heretofore, continue uninterrupted in the United States. From the tenor of the documents now enclosed, and of the reflections suggested by the very nature and state of things, the President cannot hesitate to assent to my proposal on this subject; and as the Congress is now in session, I feel assured that the proper opportunity is afforded for the adoption of the necessary measures I have alluded to, and which I solicit as an essential basis of secur ing and maintaining a mutual friendship and good understanding between the two nations.

number of privateers or pirates fitted out and protected in the ports of this Republic, as well as of the Spanish prizes made by them, far exceeds that contained in the within lists; but I only lay before your Government those of which I have certain and satisfactory proofs. The right of Spain to an adequate indemnity for all the spoliations committed by these privateers or pirates on the Crown and subjects of His Catholic Majesty is undeniable; but I now submit it to your Government only to point out the extreme necessity Nor do I find any difficulty in agreeing to the of putting an end to these continued acts of hosmodifications you offer to my fifth proposal, and tility and depredation, and of cutting short these proceeding to the sixth, the object of which is to enormous and flagrant abuses and evils, by the remedy the abuses and violations, repeated per-adoption of such effectual precautions and remenicious examples of which have occurred in different ports of this Republic, through the toleration and countenance given therein to piratical and privateering armaments, against the commerce and navigation of Spain. I observe you state that what I propose is inadmissible; but I have received orders from my Sovereign to insist on this point, and to claim of your Government such measures as are imperiously called for by the very nature of these abuses and violations, as they not only contravene the existing treaty, but are in direct opposition to the most respectable compacts founded on international and public law. Whatever may be the forecast, wisdom, and justice conspicuous in the laws of the United States, it is universally notorious that a system of pillage and aggression has been organized in several ports of the Union against the vessels and property of the Spanish nation; and it is equally so that all the legal suits hitherto instituted by His Catholic Majesty's Consuls in the courts of their respective districts, for its prevention, or the recovery of the property when brought into this country, have been and still are completely unavailing. The artifices and evasions, by means of which the letter of the law has on these occasions been constantly eluded, are sufficiently known, and even the combination of interest in persons who are well known, among whom are some holding public offices. With a view to afford you and the President more complete demonstration of the abuses, aggressions, and piracies alluded to, I enclose you correct lists, extracted from authentic documents deposited in the archives of this legation, exhibiting the number of privateers or pirates fitted out in the United States against Spain, and of the prizes brought by them into the ports of the Union, as well as of those sent to other ports, together with the result of the claims made by Spanish Consuls in the courts of this country. Among them you will find the case of two armed ships, the Horatio and Curiazo, built at New York, and detained by His Majesty's Consul there, on the ground of their having on board thirty pieces of cannon concealed, with their carriages, and a crew of one hundred and sixty men; on which occasion it was pretended that it could not be proved that these guns were not an article of commerce, and they finally put to sea without them, the extraordinary number of officers and crew passing for passengers. The

My seventh proposal having likewise been accepted by your Government, I agree to what you propose in answer thereto.

If my proposals, thus modified, should be agreed to by your Government, I am ready to sign them, after they are corrected and reduced to proper form, and augmented by such others, although inferior and of minor importance, as are consequent upon them, and essential in giving due solidity to the inestimable blessings of peace and good understanding between the two Governments, and in avoiding every difficulty and disagreement in future between the individuals and authorities of either nation.

I flatter myself that, by what I have just submitted, I give you and every impartial person a conviucing proof of the generosity, frankness, and good faith of His Catholic Majesty's Government in the present negotiation, and of my sincere and uniform desire to terminate it to the satisfaction of both Powers. I shall add that, relying on His Catholic Majesty's wish to see a final arrangement speedily and amicably effected, if it should be proposed only to draw the line from the point mentioned on the Red river (Rio Roxo) somewhat obliquely (con alguna oblicuidad) to the westward of the right line due north, which I offer as the boundary of the two countries, I shall not hesitate to take upon myself the arrangement upon this point; it being always understood that the proposed line shall strike the Missouri.

Relations with Spain.

may be submitted to the decision of the great monarchs now assembled in Congress at Aix la Chapelle; in either of which cases, I will immediately despatch a courier to my Court with all necessary information for His Catholic Majesty that His Majesty may decide on the measure: most proper to be adopted on the occasion.

Having thus approximated my proposals to theereign, that the negotiation, in its actual state. modifications offered by you, as closely as my duty and power permit me, I have to hope that they will be accepted by your Government, as they offer great sacrifices on the part of Spain in favor of the United States. But if, unfortunately, they should not, and the President should still insist on those which you communicated to me, as well as on the peremptory declaration that neither they nor the documents which I have offered to produce in support of the sovereignty of the Crown of Spain to all the territory claimed by the United States, can be further discussed, the only discretionary power left to me is to request of the President, in the name of my Sov.

I trust that you will communicate to me the decision of the President. In the mean time, I offer you the renewed assurances of my respect and distinguished consideration.

God preserve you many years.


[blocks in formation]

No. 1.

List of Spanish vessels captured by pirates and brought into the United States, stating the result or actual state of the claims made for their restitution to the lawful owners, with the cargoes brought in by some of them.


WASHINGTON, November 16, 1818.

« AnteriorContinuar »