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Relations with Spain.

provinces of His Majesty. It was he who intro-plated should be prevented; and this is the case duced himself into the internal provinces to se- of the individuals I have comprehended in the duce their inhabitants; it was he who sowed the second class. The personal knowledge I have seed of insurrection; it was he who procured in- of the recitude of the President inspires me with telligence in St. Antonio de Bexar for Bernardo a confidence that he will view the acts I have Gutierrez, that he might possess himself of the just stated as I do, and proceeding, in this partic place, and afterwards murder fourteen Spanish ular case, with that integrity and humanity which chiefs; and it was be who published, in these is the most glorious distinction of the American United States, proclamations, signed with his character, he will be pleased to adopt those meahand, inviting adventurers from all parts to form sures which he may believe most analogous to an army, pointing out the places of enlisting men, the system which, you tell me, this Government and the pay of those enlisted; and, in one word, has adopted, not to mix in these dissensions, declaring war himself, in a certain mode, against and not to permit the citizens of this Republic to the Spanish nation, from the very bosom of this take part in them, nor to permit its territory to Republic, as you will find more in detail in the be a shelter to foreigners who try to make war authenticated copy (No. 7) which accompanies on a friendly Power. this, the original of which is in my possession.

I 'include in the second class those individuals who, seduced by the imposture of the principal author of these hostile expeditions, have assisted, from the bosom of this Republic, the revolutionists of Mexico-some by furnishing them arms and munitions of war, others by enlisting themselves, in this country, in the army of the insurgents, which passed over to subvert all order in the provinces of the King, my master. In this number are those other persons whom I have mentioned to you in this and my former notes. The information which I gave you respecting some persons who were preparing hostile expeditions from Georgia against the possessions of the King, my master, you find established, officially, by the Governor of East Florida, in his letter (No. 8) which accompanies this; in which he advises me that John McIntosh and William Criach, who supported the last insurrection in that province, in the year 1812, are now recruiting in Georgia a considerable number of vagabonds, again to invade the territory under his command.

I flatter myself that this series of acts, so circumstantial, the information of which has been acquired through channels so respectable, will be sufficient to call the attention of the President to the necessity of cutting up by the roots these melancholy abuses, and shut the door against the continual, violent movements of these turbulent people, who, from the bosom of this Republic, make war on a friendly and neighboring Power. It has never been the intention of the King, my master, to request that the punishment of the laws should be inflicted on these disturbers of social order when their guilt is not fully proven. On the contrary, I have informed you that the object of His Majesty is not to take vengeance on these highway robbers, but to shelter his subjects from their barbarity. His Majesty has only thought proper to solicit from the rectitude and circumspection of this Government what might prevent the crimes which are meditated from taking effect, as otherwise it might be too late to prevent them, as the offenders will be beyond the territory of a friend, and at a distance from the arm of the law. Good order requires not only that the offences already committed should be punished, but that those which are contem

To the third point in my notes, intended to solicit from your Government that vessels from the insurgent or revolted provinces of Spanish America should not be admitted into the ports of the Republic, as well because none of those provinces are recognised by any Power in the world, as, because the obligations of friendship and good neighborhood demand that we should not in any way contribute to protect provinces or subjects who have revolted, you have been pleased to make known to me that the President, observing the change of government which had taken place among the revolutionists in Spanish America, had adopted the measure of ordering the collectors of the customs to admit every description of vessel, without regard to her character or flag, provided she paid the duties and observed the laws of the country during the time she was in port.

With due respect for the measures adopted by the chief of this confederation, I cannot do less than state to you that the changes of government which have taken place among the revolutionists of Spanish America do not appear to me to afford a sufficient motive for altering the friendly conduct towards a Power with whom one is in peace and harmony. You cannot but know that this measure places these factionists not only on a footing of equality with the Spanish nation, but gives them advantages over all independent Powers, since, according to the laws of neutrality, the United States would not permit any independent nation to arm its vessels in their ports, nor to sell prizes in them, as is permitted to these revolutionists.

By the two acts of Congress, one of the 28th of February, 1806, and the other of the 24th of the same month in 1807, all commerce with the rebels of St. Domingo was prohibited at the request of France. As the treaties subsisting between Spain and the United States place Spain on the footing of the most favored nations, His Majesty considers himself entitled to expect that this Republic will now adopt in his favor a like measure during the disturbances in Spanish America, or for such other period as it may be considered proper to designate. Such is the spirit in which I have made the three requests to your Government, stated in my former notes. I hope that the present observations will merit a favora

Relations with Spain.

ble reception from the rectitude and wisdom of the President and of yourself. I have given an account to my Government of all these particulars, sending it a copy of my notes, and of the answer I had the honor to receive from you. And in the meantime I ought to reiterate to you the most positive assurances of the disposition of the King, my master, to maintain and to strengthen the ties of friendship and good understanding with these States.

At the conclusion of your note which I am now answering, you are pleased to make known to me that this Government is anxious to terminate, by means of a friendly negotiation with the King, my master, all pending differences, and that it will be very satisfactory to the President to know that I am vested with powers to that effect. I have not lost any time in communicating to my Sovereign this desire of the President, and I will have the satisfaction of announcing to you what His Majesty may determine on this point; nevertheless, I ought to state to you, that although it would be highly flattering to me to treat with you, as your penetration and rectitude would facilitate the arrangement of these affairs, yet it appears to me that, as Mr. Erving has not yet sailed from the United States, the business would be expedited if the President would give him power and instructions to terminate the negotiations at Madrid. This arrangement cannot present great difficulties. The respective rights of each Power being once settled by common agreement, a friendly understanding being had on each point in discussion, and it being determined what are the reciprocal obligations of Spain and the United States, they would be still further obviated if you would have the goodness to inform me, frankly and plainly, as I requested in a former letter, what are the pretensions of right which the United States have against Spain, and what are those for their own convenience, which they desire to realize for an equivalent which may be advantageous to the two nations, to the end that, with the knowledge I have acquired of the mutual interests of both, I may recommend to the attention of His Majesty these particular points.

I renew to you my respects, and pray God to preserve your life many years.


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DEPARTMENT OF STATE, June 10, 1816. SIR: I had the honor to receive your letter of February 22d soon after its date, and to communicate it to the President.

Anxious as this Government has been to terminate all differences with His Catholic Majesty, on conditions of reciprocal advantage, and with equal honor to both parties, it would have been very satisfactory to the President to have found that you had been vested with full power to negotiate and conclude a treaty for these purposes. I have the honor now to state that Mr. Erving, Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to

His Catholic Majesty, has been instructed on these important subjects, and that, as the views of this Government are just and liberal, a strong hope is entertained that your Government, bringing to the negotiation a similar disposition, will agree to such an arrangement as will be mutually advantageous and satisfactory to both nations.

However agreeable it might be to leave these high concerns in this train, without further discussion here, it is, nevertheless, proper to notice some passages in your letter of February 22d, notwithstanding the clear light in which the subjects to which they relate have been placed in former communications. You intimate, in your late letter of May 30th, a desire to receive a particular answer to that of February 22d; and it is just that you should see that my silence was imputable to the cause only which is above suggested.

You state that, as that portion of Louisiana which lies eastward of the Mississippi and the Iberville, had been ceded by France to Great Britain in 1763, and by Great Britain to Spain in 1783, it could not be comprised in the cession of Spain to France in 1800, nor of the latter to the United States in 1803; and you draw this conclusion from the supposed import of the term "retrocession" used in the two latter treaties; which, you say, applies to that portion only which Spain had received from France. My interpretation of these treaties, taking into view so much thereof as relates to this subject, is very different. As to the term "retrocession," it is evident that it was not the intention of the parties that it should have any effect whatever on the extent of the territory ceded. The import of this term is too vague, and the term itself was used in a manner too casual to admit such an inference, even had there been nothing else in the treaty between Spain and France of 1800, to show that the construction you contend for is altogether inconsistent with the manifest intention of the parties. The import of this term would, in my opinion, be satisfied, if the whole province had passed in the first instance from France to Great Britain, and been conveyed afterwards by Great Britain to Spain, and by Spain back again to France. In regard to France this last conveyance would have been a "retrocession," as, by it, the territory would have been ceded back to her. It was very natural, therefore, that this term should be used, being applicable, in the most limited sense in which it can be taken, to at least nineteen-twentieths of the province, and, in a qualified sense, to the whole.

Had it been intended to exempt any portion of the province in the possession of Spain from the operation of the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, it would have been easy to have done it, and in a manner to preclude all doubt of the intention of the parties. It might, for example, have been stated that Spain ceded back to France such part of the province as France had ceded to Spain. A stipulation to this effect would have been concise, simple, and very perspicuous; it would have rendered useless and unnecessary the other provisions of

Relations with Spain.

the article in regard to the point in discussion, and for any purpose whatever the first of these provisions; or they might have defined the extent of the cession by a natural boundary, which would have been equally distinct and satisfactory. Had Spain ceded to France all that portion of Louisiana which lies westward of the Mississippi, the Iberville, and the Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, no controversy could ever have arisen between France and Spain respecting the eastern limits, as to what Spain had ceded in that quarter, and what she had retained; nor could there have been one between the United States and Spain. By declining to define the boundaries of Louisiana, eastward, in some one of these obvious and perspicuous modes, it is just to conclude that it was intentional; that there was an object in it; and what that object was is sufficiently apparent from a fair construction of the provisions of the article already noticed.

By the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, in 1800, the province of Louisiana is ceded to France by Spain, "with the same extent that it now has in the hands of Spain, and that it had when France possessed it, and such as it should be after the treaties subsequently entered into between Spain and other States." And by the treaty of 1803, between the United States and France, this article of the treaty between France and Spain is inserted verbatim, by which the United States are placed precisely on the same ground on which France herself stood.

likewise to the treaty of 1783 between Great Britain and Spain, by which West Florida was ceded to the latter, whereby she was enabled to restore it, in the extent contended for, to France. In regard to its operation on the treaty of 1795, between the United States and Spain, it was a provision which the United States had a right to expect from the good faith of Spain.

This view of the subject, which was in substance taken by the Ministers of the United States in 1805, in a negotiation with your Government at Aranjuez, appears to me, as it then did, to be conclusive. You urge, however, against it, that the French Government had stated that it was not its intention to cede to the United States that portion of Louisiana which France had ceded to Great Britain by the treaty of 1763. The same declaration was made to the Ministers of the United States at Aranjuez, in 1805, for the same purpose that it is now repeated. A just regard to the rights of the United States, founded on the cession which France had made to them, with a thorough knowledge of all the circumstances attending the transaction, combined with a due respect to the Government of France, dictated the answer. Your Government was informed that the American Envoys had proposed to the French Government, in the negotiation which terminated in the cession of Louisiana by France to the United States, in 1803, that its boundaries should be defined by the treaty; to which the French Government did not accede, preferring If we recur to the several provisions, we shall to insert in it an extract from the Treaty of St. find that each has a distinct object, for which it Ildefonso, by which the province had been ceded would not have been necessary to provide, espe- by Spain to France, with intention to place the cially in that mode, if it had been the intention United States, in regard to Spain, on the same of the parties that no portion of West Florida in ground precisely that France held herself under question should have been exempted from the the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, unprejudiced by any cession. By stipulating first that the province opinion of her own. Nothing had occurred in was ceded with the same extent that it now has the negotiation with France to excite a doubt that in the hands of Spain," direct reference was made the Perdido was the eastern boundary of Louisito that portion of West Florida lying between ana. It had been the boundary of the province the Mississippi, the Iberville, the Lakes Maurepas when held by France, before the treaties of 1763, and Pontchartrain, and the Perdido. This pro-and it was made so again by the Treaty of St. Ildevision cannot be construed as alluding to any fonso, which restored it to her. Such was the other part of the province, and its sole effect was construction which the American Ministers gave intended to be to include it in the cession to to that treaty, who were engaged in the negotiaFrance. The second provision is equally explicit, tion with France; and such their representation "that it had when France possessed it." It is of it to their Government, after the treaty with known that France had held the province to that France was concluded. It merits particular attenextent before the treaties of 1763, by which she tion that when your Government was requested had ceded it to Spain and Great Britain; and by to cede to the United States such territory as they this stipulation it was ceded back to her in the were desirous of obtaining prior to their acquisition same extent, so far as Spain could do it. The of Louisiana, it replied to their Minister at Madrid, third provision has an object equally distinct, and by a letter of May 3, 1803, "that, by_the_retrois the more important, because, by giving it its cession made to France of Louisiana, that Power intended effect, the construction given to the regained the province with the limits it had, savothers is fully confirmed-" such as it should be ing the rights acquired by other Powers; and after the treaties subsequently entered into be- that the United States could address themselves tween Spain and other States." By the treaty to the French Government to negotiate the acbetween the United States and Spain, in 1795, quisition of territories which might suit their the boundaries, as established between the United interest." With the subject thus presented beStates and Great Britain in 1783, and the free fore the Government of the United States, the navigation of the Mississippi are confirmed, with fair construction of the article of the Treaty of the addition of the right of deposite at New Or- St. Ildefonso, maintained by the American Minleans. This provision applies to this treaty, and|isters in their official communication accompa


Relations with Spain.

nying the treaty, sanctioned, as it evidently was, by the letter of your Minister of State, the Treaty of Paris of 1803 was ratified. It could not be expected that the United States would appeal, under these circumstances, to France, for information as to the extent of the acquisition which they had made, or be governed by any opinion which her Government might express, in that stage, respecting it.

With respect to the western boundary of Louisiana, I have to remark that this Government has never doubted, since the treaty of 1803, that it extended to the Rio Bravo. Satisfied I am, if the claims of the two nations were submitted to an impartial tribunal, who, observing the principles applicable to the case, and tracing facts, as to discovery and settlement, on either side, that such would be its decision. The discovery of the Mississippi as low down as the Arkansas, in 1673, and to its mouth, in 1680, and the establishment of settlements on that river, and on the bay of St. Bernard, on the western side of the Colorado, in 1685, under the authority of France, when the nearest settlement of Spain was in the province of Panuco, are facts which place the claim of the United States on ground not to be shaken. It is known that nothing occurred afterwards on the part of France to weaken this claim. The difference which afterwards took place between France and Spain respecting Spanish encroachments there, and the war which ensued, to which they contributed, tend to confirm it.

I have thought it proper to make these remarks in reply to your letter of February 22d, respecting the eastern and western boundary of Louisiana. The subject having been fully treated in several notes to your Government in 1805, and particularly in those of March 8th and April 20th of that year, I beg to refer you to them for a further view of the sentiments of this Government on the subject.

In adverting to the parts of your letter which relate to the revolted provinces of Spain in America, and the aid which you state the revolutionary party have derived from the United States, I cannot avoid expressing equally my surprise and regret. I stated in my letter to you of January 19th, that no aid had ever been afforded them, either in men, money, or supplies of any kind, by the Government, not presuming that the gratuitous supply of provisions to the unfortunate peo ple of Caraccas, in consequence of the calamity with which they were visited, would be viewed in that light, and that aid to them from our citizens, inconsistent with the laws of the United States, and with the law of nations, had been prohibited, and that the prohibition had been enforced with care and attention. You stated in your letter of January 2d, that forces were collecting in different parts of our western and southern country, particularly in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana, for the purpose of invading the Spanish provinces. I stated to you, in reply, that I knew of no such collection of troops in any quarter, and that, from information, derived from the highest authorities, I was satisfied

that none such had been made. I requested you to state at what points these troops were collected, and who were the commanders. You have sent me, in reply, extracts of letters from persons whose names are withheld, which estab lish none of the facts alleged as to the raising of troops in the United States, but recite only vague rumors to that effect. I have the honor to transmit to you a copy of a letter on this subject, from Mr. Dick, the attorney of the United States for the district of Louisiana, by which you will see how attentive the public authorities there have been to the execution of the laws of the United States, and to the orders of the Government, and how little they have deserved the charges made against them.

As I cannot doubt that you have taken erroneous impressions from the misrepresentation of partial or misinformed individuals, and that you have communicated the same to your Government, I rely on your candor to adopt such measures as may appear best calculated to place the whole subject before it in a true light. It is important that the effort which the President is now making to adjust our differences with Spain should have the desired result; and it is presumable that a correct knowledge of the conduct of the United States, in these circumstances, would promote it.

I have the honor to be, &c.


Copy of a letter from Mr. Dick, Attorney of the United States for the district of Louisiana, to Mr. Monroe, enclosed to Mr Onis in the Secretary of State's letter of June 10, 1816.

NEW ORLEANS, March 1, 1816.

SIR: I have just had an opportunity of perusing the letters of the Chevalier de Onis, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Catholic Majesty, addressed to you under dates of the 30th of December and the 2d of January. As these letters dwell largely upon transactions affecting the neutrality of the United States, which are said to have occurred, and to be still occurring here, and as they charge the public authorities of this city with giving, in the face of the President's proclamation of the 1st of September last, protection and support to the enemies of His Catholic Majesty, I think it not improper to address you in relation to these charges.

It is affirmed by the Chevalier de Onis, “and it is," says he, "universally public and notorious, that a factious band of insurgents and incendiaries continue with impunity, in the province of Louisiana, and especially in New Orleans and Natchitoches, the uninterrupted system of raising and arming troops to light the flame of revolution in the kingdom of New Spain. All Louisiana," he continues, "has witnessed these armaments, the public enlistments, the transportation of arms, the junction of the insurgents, and their hostile and warlike march from the territory of this Republic against the possessions of a friendly and neighboring Power."

Relations with Spain.

they applied to the garrison at Natchitoches for an escort to bring in some specie, which was immediately granted.

No troops at present are, or at any former period were, openly raised, armed, or enlisted, at Natchitoches, or at New Orleans, or at any other point within the State of Louisiana. Arms have Toledo, who, at the time of its defeat, combeen transported from this place, by sea and other-manded the party that penetrated to San Antonio, wise, as objects of merchandise, and probably came to this city in the Autumn of 1814, when have been disposed of to some of the revolution he was immediately arrested, and recognized to ary governments of New Spain. It has not been answer, at the succeeding term of the federal supposed here that there was any law of the Uni- court, to a charge of setting on foot, within the ted States, any provision by treaty, or any prin- territory of the United States, a military expediciple of national law, that prohibits this species tion or enterprise, to be carried on from thence of commerce. It was considered that the pur- against the territories or dominions of the King chasing and exporting, by way of merchandise, of Spain; six months having passed, and no tesof articles termed contraband, were free alike to timony whatever appearing against him, his reboth belligerents; and that, if our citizens en- cognizance was delivered up. gaged in it, they would be abandoned to the penalties which the laws of war authorize.

What is said, too, about the junction of the insurgents, and their hostile and warlike march from the territory of the United States against the possessions of Spain, is unfounded. In the Summer of the year 1812, a band of adventurers, without organization, and apparently without any definite object, made an incursion into the province of Texas, as far as San Antonio, by the way of Nacogdoches. No doubt many of the persons belonging to this party passed by the way of Natchitoches, but separately, in no kind of military array, and under such circumstances as to preclude the interference of the civil or military authorities of the United States, or of the State of Louisiana.

What could be effected in this respect was done; twice in the years 1811,-'12, parties of adventurers, who had assembled between the Rio Hondo and the Sabine, (the neutral territory,) were dispersed by the garrison of Natchitoches, their huts demolished, and their whole establishment broken up.

The party that marched upon San Antonio assembled to the west of the Sabine, beyond the operation of our laws, and from thence carried on their operations. So far from troops, upon this occasion, assembling at different points, forming a junction within the territories of the United States, and marching thence, I am assured, by various and most repectable authorities, that, although it was generally understood at Natchitoches that some enterprise was on foot, it was extraordinary to see two of the persons supposed to be engaged in it together. The officer commanding at that time the United States troops at Natchitoches (Major Wolstoncraft) offered his services to the civil authorities in aid of the laws, and to preserve inviolate the neutrality which they enforce.

In consequence, several individuals found with arms were arrested; they alleged that they were hunters; and there being no evidence to the contrary, or rather no proof of their being engaged in any illegal undertaking, they were, of course, discharged. So well satisfied, indeed, were the Spanish authorities of the adjoining province that neither our Government nor its agents gave succors or countenance to this expedition, that, during the time they knew it to be organizing,

After the discomfiture of the party under Toledo, no enterprise destined to aid the revolutionists of New Spain appears to have been set on foot from the vicinity of the United States, until late in the Summer of last year, when it was rumored that a party, under a person of the name of Perry, was forming for that purpose somewhere on the western coast of Louisiana. Upon the first intimation that this enterprise was meditated, steps were taken here to frustrate it. Nothing occurred to justify prosecutions or arrests; a large quantity of arms, however, supposed to be intended for this party, were seized on the river, and detained at the custom-house for several months; and Commodore Patterson, commanding naval officer on this station, instructed the officers under his command, cruising in the neighborhood of the suspected place of rendezvous, (Belleisle, at the mouth of Bayou Teche,) to ascertain the truth of the rumors in circulation, and, if verified, to use the force under their respective commands in dispersing the persons assembled, and in frustrating their illegal intentions. In obedience to these orders, the coast, as far as the Sabine, was examined, and no persons discovered. It is now ascertained that Perry, Humbert, and their followers, inconsiderable in number, passed separately through Attakapas, and assembled about two leagues to the west of the Sabine. Thence they embarked for some place on the coast of Mexico, were wrecked, dispersed, and their plans, whatever they were totally defeated.

I have in the foregoing detail, sir, given, partly from information entitled to perfect confidence, and partly from my own knowledge, a brief and hurried outline of two fruitless attempts of a handful of restless and uninfluential individuals, stimulated by the desire of aiding the cause of Mexican independence, or that of bettering their own fortunes. These are the only military enterprises against the dominions of the Spanish Crown that have drawn any portion of their aid or support from Louisiana: in both, the mass of adventurers was composed of Spaniards, Frenchmen, and Italians. I need not say that these enterprises, whether in aid of the revolutionists or merely predatory, were not only feeble and insignificant, but that they were formed under circumstances which forbid a surmise of their being sanctioned or connived at. Every man acquainted with the state of public feeling throughout the southern

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