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Relations with Spain.
are yet entertained by the United States, on this it be confined distinctly to the subject of each matter,
one of my notes, according to their respective This point, then, being, separated from those order, or to propose a mode embracing all the connected with the question of claims for inju- points comphehended in them, by which we may ries, losses, and damages, because that is already have them collectively settled in the negotiation settled between France and the United States, or which is to be entered upon for the exchange or is to be settled with France directly, if anything cession of the Floridas, In this proceeding you still remains to be performed, we can agree upon will perceive, sir, a certain proof of the frankness a just and suitable mode of determining a recip. and good faith of the Spanish Government, and rocal satisfaction for the injuries, losses, and dam- of the sincere and friendly sentiments entertained ages, before spoken of, and included in the three by the King, my master, for the United States. points of the first class as enumerated in this note, I conclude with the renewed assurances of in order that we may proceed more clearly and my respects, and I pray God to preserve you methodically. These three points, as I have be- many years. fore said, will be submitted to the judgment and
LUIS DE ONIS. decision of the joint commission, in virtue of the convention to be formed on the basis of that of 1802, simplifying and rectifying it in such man
The same to the same. ner as will insure its most expeditious and faith
WASHINGTON, January 8, 1818. ful execution.
Sir: In the National Intelligencer of the 6th In this note, and the two others which I have of this month, I have seen published the official already had ihe honor to address to you, are notice of the occupation of Amelia Island by the contained all the points in dispute between the troops of the United States. I had already antiGovernment of His Catholic Majesty and that cipated this unpleasant event, by the note which of the United States; and, to avoid confounding I had the honor to address you on the 6th of last them with each other, I have treated them in month, in which I remonstrated, in the name of their regular order, with precision, simplicity, His Catholic Majesty, against the measures anand clearness. You can examine each of them, nounced in that part of ihe President's Message sir, with the impartiality and rectitude which to both Houses of Congress which manifested an distinguish your characier; and I Batter my. intention to invade and forcibly seize on places self ibat all the motives and grounds of the con- and territories belonging to the Crown of Spain. troversy will be completely removed by your Having received no answer to that note, I now discernment and wisdom, as you will not fail to feel myself obliged to repeat its contents to you, acknowledge the irresistible force of what has and to protest, as I now do strongly protest, in been, and is now, demonstrated on the part of the name of the King, my master, agaiost the the Government of Spain.
occupation of Amelia Island, effected by the naWhen the different points treated of in each of val and military forces of this Republic, destised these notes with the necessary discrimination are to operate against that island, forming a part of considered, and a decision formed on each of them, Easi Florida, one of the possessions of the Spanit is requisite that we should definitively selile ish monarchy on this continent. and terminate the controversy, without leaving Whatever may have been the motives on any room for dispute in future.
which the Government of the United States This general and definitive arrangement of all bave founded their adoption of this measure, it the points in dispute must, by its nature and cannot but be considered by all nations as a viocircumstances, precede the negotiation for the lent iovasion of the dominions of Spain at the exchange or cession of the Floridas, since, until time of a profound peace, when His Catholic it be determined and settled what are the territo- Majesty omils nothing to give the most generous ries on the frontier which belong to Spain, and proofs of his perfect friendship and high considwhat are those which belong to the United Siates, eration for the United States. it is impossible to estimate the equivalent to be I therefore trust that, upon your communicagiven to Spain for the two Floridas. Neverthe ting this solemn reclamation and protest to the less, as it is the earnest desire of His Catholic President, he will be pleased to direct that suitMajesty to meet the wishes of the United States able orders be given to the American commandin everything that may be compatible with the ers at Amelia Island, and on that station, forthrights and honor of his Royal Crown, you may, with to restore the said island, together with all sir, devise and propose a mode by which we may its dependencies, to His Catholic Majesty, and to at one and the same time adjust all the points of deliver up the same to the Spanish commandant, the controversy, and stipulate the exchange or and officers presenting themselves for that purcession of the Floridas, in case your Govern pose, in the name of their Sovereign. ment should not agree to our previously settling It is also my duty to represent to you, sir, that, the poidis connected with the question of boun- at the time of the invasion and occupation of daries, and establishing a convention, in confor- that island by the American troops, there was, mity to the basis of that of 1802, for the mutual and I believe still is, a considerable property becompensation of losses and injuries, according to longing to Spanish subjects, which, in all cases, the order I have adopted in my pole.
it is required by strict justice should' be delivered I expect, therefore, your answer, sir, whether to the owners, which, 'I doubt not, has already Relations with Spain. been, or will be done, in a due and proper man- 1. Spain to cede all her claims to territory ner, care being taken in the mean time ibat it be eastward of the Mississippi. not removed or suffer injury.
2. The Colorado, from its mouth to its source, I await your reply to this reelamation and and from thence to the northern limits of Louisprotest, that I may be enabled to give seasonable iana, to be the western boundary ; or, to lcave intelligence and instructions to the Governor of that boundary unsettled for future arrangement. St. Augustine, and to the Captain General of the 3. The claims of indemnities for spoliations, Island of Cuba, provided the President, as I flat- whether Spanish, or French within Spanish ter myself, will resolve on the prompt restitution jurisdiction, and for the suppression of the deposand delivery of Amelia and iis dependencies to ite at New Orleans, to be arbitrated and settled His Catholic Majesty's Government.
by commissioners, in the manner agreed upon I cannot by any means doubt that this will be in the unratified convention of 1802. effected, confiding, as I do, in the high rectitude 4. The lands in East Florida, and in West of the President, and in the inviolable principles Florida, to the Perdido, to be made answerable of public faith, on which the security of nations for the amount of the indemnities which may be reposes.
awarded by the Commissioners under this arbiI have the honor to renew the assurances of tration ; with an option to the United States to my respects, and pray God to preserve you many take lands and pay the debts, or to sell the lands years.
LUIS DE ONIS. for the payment of the debts, distributing the
amount received equally, according to the amount
of their respective liquidated claims, among the The Secretary of State to Don Luis De Onis.
claimants. No grants of land subsequent to the WASHINGTON, January 16, 1818. 11th of August, 1802, to be valid. Sir: Your letters of 29th December, and of 5. Spain to be exonerated from the payment 5th and 8th of the present month, have been re- of the debts, or any part of them. ceived, and laid before the President of the United These proposals do not materially differ from States.
those made to Don Pedro Cevallos on the 12th of He has seen, not without surprise and regret, May, 1805. The President has seen nothing in any that they consist almost entirely of renewed dis- eveots which bave siace occurred, nor in the con. cussions upon the several points of difference tents of your notes, which can afford a reason or which have so long subsisted between the United a motive for departing from them. Of the moStates and Spain-discussions which had been tives for coming to an immediate arrangement, the exhausted in the correspondence between the urgency cannot escape your attention. The events Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at which have recently occurred in a part of the Madrid and your Government in the years 1802 territory which you have informed me the King and 1803, and more especially in that between of Spain is willing lo cede to the United States, Don Pedro Cevallos and the special extraor- those which are notoriously impending over the dinary mission of the United States to your remaining part of that territory yet in the possesCouri in 1805—a mission iostituted by the sion of Spain, make it indispensably necessary Amercan Government, under the influence of that the ultimate determination of your Governthe most earnest desire to terminate amicably, meat in this negotiation should be acted on withand to the satisfaction of both the parties, all out delay. The explanations requested by your tbose differences, but which, after five months of notes of the 6th December and 8th January, of negotiation at Aranjuez, issued in the refusal of the motives of this Goveroment in the occupation Spain to give satisfaction to the United States of Amelia Island, have been given in the Message upon any one of the causes of complaint which of the President to Congress of the 13th instant, were to be adjusted, or even to settle the ques- and cannot fail of being satisfactory to your Gov. tion of boundaries existing between the United ernment. You see it there distinctly and expliStates and the Spanish provinces bordering upon citly declared that the measures which this Gove them. The President considers that it would be ernment found itself under the necessity of adoptan unprofitable waste of time to enter again ating in relation to that island were taken not with large upon topics of controversy which were at a view to conquest from Spain. You well know that time so thoroughly debated, and upon which that, if Spain could have kept, or recovered the he perceives nothing in your notes which was possession of it from the trifling force by which not then substantially urged by Don Pedro Ce-it was occupied, the American Government vallos, and to which every reply essential to elu- would have been spared the necessity of the cidate the righis, and establish the pretensions measure which was taken, and which was dicon the part of the United States, was ihen given. lated by the duty of protecting the interests as For proof of which, I beg leave merely to refer well of this country as of those with whom we you to the letters of Mr. Monroe and Mr. Pinck- are in friendly commercial relations, including ney 10 Mr. Cevallos, of 28th January, 26th Feb. Spain herself.' But Spain cannot expect that roary, 8th and 16th March, 9th and 20th April, the United States should employ their forces for and 12th May, 1805. I am instructed by the the defence of her territories, or to rescue them, President to propose to you an adjustment of all for her exclusive advantage, from the adventurers the differences between the two countries, by an who are projecting and in the act of executing arrangement on the following terms:
expeditions against them from territories without
Relations with Spain.
the jurisdiction of the United States. Neither single fact, or a single argument, that can affect can ihe United States permit that the adjoining the certainty or decisive force of the facts, grounds, territories of Spain should be misused by others and reasons which support and determine the for purposes of annoyance to them.
aforesaid rights of the Crown of Spain. There Under these circumstances, the President is does not appear 10 be a siogle incident to give persuaded that you will perceive the necessity the smallest support to the pretensions of your either of accepting the proposals herein contained Government. All the vague positions on which as the basis of an adjustment of the long-standing it bas been attempted to found them have been differences between the United States and Spain, refuted and dissipated by the Spanish Goveroor of offering such as can, by any possibility, be ment, by a demonstration so luminous and conacceptable to this Government, without reverting vincing as to leave no alternative to reason to to a course of proceeding the only result of which resist it. must be further procrastination.
To lay all this aside, and merely to say "that I pray you, şir, to accept the assurance of my it is a matter already thoroughly, debated, on very distinguished consideration.
which nothing further essential can be urged, and JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. that the American Government insists on main
taining a contrary opinion,” is to adopt an arbiThe Chevalier Don Luis de Onis to the Secretary of ported by any solid foundation, and being, as it
trary course, because, this opinion not being supState.
is, diametrically opposite to the unquestionable WASHINGTON, January 24, 1818. result of facts, and to the most incontestable prinSir: I have received your letter of the 16th of ciples and arguments
, does not, nor can it, give this month, by which I see, with great regret, to the United States any right to the pretensions that, in acknowledging the receipt of those I had they have formed. Neither can it be required the honor to address to you on the 29th of last that the Government of Spain should subscribe month, and the 5th and 8th of the present, you to this opinion, and renounce its rights to the teromit to answer them, and decline taking into ritory which the United States wish to possess in consideration the indisputable facts and grounds, the Spanish provinces bordering on those States, and the irresistible arguments advanced in them, since ihat opinion, as I have already said, is altoin relation to each of the points embraced by the gether groundless and arbitrary, and since, on dispute set on foot by the Government of the those rights, there peither does nor can there fall United States. You say it is useless again to any doubt. discuss the facts, reasons, and arguments pro- It is the sincere wish of His Catholic Majesty duced by the Spanish Government in the years that a just mode of amicably settling all pendiog 1802 and 1803, and in 1805, the American Pleni- differences may be adopted, and he has auihorized potentiaries, and the special extraordinary mission me for this purpose ; but neither the powers he conjointly with them, having then replied to the has conferred on me, nor my own sense of duty, different points of the notes of the Spanish Min- permit me to enter into an arrangement which istry in a manner capable of elucidaiing the re- is not based upon the principles of common jusspective rights of each of the two Powers, and tice, combined in good faith with the suitable establishing the pretensions of the Government considerations of reciprocal utility or conveniof the United States ; for proof of which you re- ence. Being anxiously desirous of carrying the fer me to the letters of Messrs. Monroe and Pinck-wishes and frank dispositions of my Sovereign ney to His Catholic Majesty's Minister, Don into execution, I suggested to you, in our last ver. Pedro Cevallos, of the 28th of January, 26th of bal conference, the expediency of your making to February, 8th and 16th of March, 91h and 20th me such proposals as you might think fit to reconof April, and 12th of May, 1805.
cile the righis and interests of both Powers, by a I think it proper to observe, in the first place, definitive arrangement of the differences pending that although the facts, grounds, and arguments between them. Since you communicated the then produced by the Spanish Government do present state of things to the President, you have not differ essentially from those stated in any proposed to me in your note a plan of arrange. notes, their irresistible and conclusive force is ment or adjustment embracing the question of neither altered nor in any manner impaired. boundaries, and that of indemnities, which is as Truth is of all times; and reason and justice are follows: founded on immutable principles. It is on these To settle the former, you propose " that Spain principles that the righis of the Crown of Spain shall cede all her claims to territory eastward of are founded to the territories eastward and west- the Mississippi, (that is to say, the two Floriward of Louisiana, claimed by your Government das ;) and that the Colorado, from its mouth to as making part of that province-rights of im- its source, and from thence to the northern limits memorial property and possession, never disputed, of Louisiana, shall be the western boundary of but always notorious, and acknowledged by other that province." nations.
I have expressed in one proposal what you have In the second place, I must remark to you that, stated in two, as both are reduced to the cession throughout the whole correspondence on this sub- of territory by Spain. It is not only proposed ject belween the Ministry of the United States that Spain sball cede both Floridas to the United and that of His Catholic Majesty, there is not a States, but that she shall likewise cede to them Relations with Spain.
the vast extent of Spanish territory comprehendo fered by American citizens, and omit that which ed within the line following the whole course of is equally due to Spaniards for spoliations comthe Colorado. I presume that it is the river Cole mitted on them by the citizens and authorities of orado of Natchitoches you speak of, and not of this Republic, in violation of the law of nations another bearing the same name, and which is and the existing treaty. I also observe that you still fartber within the limits of the Spanish not only omit this indispensable basis of reciproprovinces. I leave it to you, sir, to examine the city and common justice, but propose the immeimport of these two proposals, and to see whether diate cession of both the Floridas, which two they are compatible with the principles of jus- Spanish provinces are to be retained by the Unitice, or with those of reciprocal utility or conve- ted States as an indemnity or payment of what nieoce. It is demanded of Spain to cede prov- may appear to be due by Spain to American cito inces and territories of the highest importance, izens, according to the arbitration of the joint not only to the eastward, but to the westward commission. of Louisiana, and that without proposing any You cannot fail to admit, sir, that this proposal, equivalent or compensation.
independent of its injustice, is offensive to the To settle the question of indempities, you make dignity aod honor of His Catholic Majesty. It the following proposals:
is unjust, because it demands an indemnity or 1. That indemnity for spoliations on American anticipated payment of claims yet to be proved citizens, committed by Spaniards or French with and liquidated, while, at the same time, it proin the jurisdiction of Spain, as well as for inju- vides for no correspondent indemnity or payment ries sustained by American citizens by the inter- of what may be due by the United States to ruption of the deposite at New Orleans, shall be Spanish subjects. It is offensive to the dignity seitled by a joint commission, as agreed upon in and honor of Spain, because, by the very fact of the convention of 1802.
demanding this anticipation, a want of confidence 2. The lands in East Florida, and in West in the integrity and punctuality in His Catholic Florida to the Perdido, to be made answerable to Majesty's Government is manifested, whereas a the United States for the amount of the indem- single instance does not exist of Spain having nities which may appear to be due by Spain to failed in fulfilling her engagements; the most American citizens on the settlement to be made scrupulous exactness, good faith, and strict obserby commissioners appointed according to the con- vance of the point of honor, having at all times vention of 1802; it being at the option of the invariably formed the distinguishing traits of her United States to take the lands and pay the character. It therefore becomes unnecessary to amount of the indemnities according to the award point out to you the enormous disproportion beon the claims, or to sell the lands, and effect the iween the value of the two Floridas, and that of payment with the proceeds of the sales. To this the probable amount of the claims of American proposal you add, that all grants of land subse citizens on the Government of Spain, after they quent to the 11th of August, 1802, are to be null are ascertained and liquidated. This disproporand void.
tion will be still more enormous when you con3. That Spain shall be exonerated from the sider that, in the first of the three proposals, to payment of the debts, or any part of them. which I am now replying, is included the indem
Before I reply to these three proposals, I must pity for spoliations on citizens of this Republic repeat the uniform declaration of the Spanish by French cruisers and consuls on the coasts and Government to the United States, that His Cath in the ports of Spain, and by the tribunals of cas. olic Majesty is, and always has been, ready to sation in France, confirming the condemnation of setile the question of indemnities, with a view to American prizes. the full satisfaction of the just claims of the par- It has been proved to mathematical demonstraties interested ; and that His Majesty has always tion that Spain neither is nor can be responsible manifested the same sincere desire to settle defia- in any way for this indemnity. It is France itively the question of boundaries to the satisfac- which must be responsible, if she has not already tion of both Powers; and that, if neither of these satisfied the clain, as her Government assures objects has been accomplished, it has not de- she has done. pended upon the Government of Spain. The Nor can I omit to declare to you, sir, that the contrary is evideat, beyond the possibility of de- pretension of annulling the grants of lands in Flopial, from the official correspondence between rida since August, 1802, would be in opposition to His Catholic Majesty's Minister of State, and all the principles of justice. These grants are the Plenipotentiaries of the American Govern- made in a lawful manner, and by a lawful authorment, who suspended and broke off the negotia- ity. Spain was the owner and peaceful possessor tion at Aranjuez, after having obstinately refused of those lands. She had then an indisputable right to accept the modifications founded on strict jus- to make the grants you allude to, as she now has tice which were proposed by the Spanish Gov- to the property of the territory afterwards forcibly ernment.
taken possession of by the United States, since a I now proceed to state the most obvious and violeni dispossession never deprives an individ essential difficulties which render your three pro- ual or nation of their lawful rights. I proceed posals for the settlement of indemnities inadmis. to your last proposal, which is, that on the adsible. I observe that, in speaking of them, you mission of those preceding, Spain shall be exonly mention the indemnity for spoliations suf- operated from all obligation to pay the debts or Relations with Spain.
claims which may be due to American citizens all I wish to ask, and give up all you may justly on their settlement and liquidation by the joint claim or show is yours."! I am, however, percommission. I conceive this to be the import of fectly, persuaded that this neither is nor can be the expressions, stating that "Spain shall be exo your intention, or that of your Government; and operated from the payment of the debts, or any ihat, in making these proposals for an adjustment, part of them.” This proposition is a corollary, your only object was to afford me an opportunity of the two preceding it, since, if Spain should io make such as you might consider just and cede the two Floridas to the United States as an admissible. indemnity or compensation for the losses and in- I shall, therefore, point out to you such as I conjuries done to the citizens of this Republic, she ceive to be founded in justice and reciprocal conwould necessarily be exonerated from this respon- venience, and therefore cannot fail to meet the sibility, the cession being, in such case, equiva- wishes of the United States. lent to a final discharge of the claims referred to. 1. "The dividing line between Louisiana and I go farther. Supposing your last two proposals the Spanish possessions to be established in one for the definitive adjustment of the question of of the branches of the Mississippi, either that of indemnities to be admitted and carried into effect, La Fourche, or of the Atchafalaya, following the the one preceding, namely, that which refers this course of that river to its source. Spain to cede business to the award of commissioners to be ap- the two Floridas to the United States in full and pointed by both Governments, agreeably to the complete sovereignty." convention of 1802, would be useless and contra- In case this proposal should not appear admisdictory. As none of the proposals offered by sible to your Government, the following may be you provide any indemnity for ihe losses and in- substituted: “The uti possidetis, or state of posjuries caused in Spaniards, nor even make any session in 1763, to form the basis, and the western mention of them; and as by the two last pro- line of division to be established from the sea, at posals, if admitted, the losses and injuries sus- a point between the rivers Carcasa and the Mertained by American citizens would be indemni- mento, or Mermentao, ruoning thence by Arroyo fied and compensated, according to the wishes of Hondo, till it crosses the Colorado of Natchitoyour Government, and Spain would consequently ches, between that post and Adaes, thence northbe exonerated from all responsibility on this head, ward to a point to be fixed and laid down by it is clear that the business would then be settled commissioners respectively appointed for the purand cancelled, and there would be no necessity pose.". for recurring io arbitration.
2. His Catholic Majesty to ratify the convenFinally, I cannot refrain from expressing my tion of 1802, and both Governmenis to abide by great concern at not being able in any degree to the decision of the joint commission on the quesreconcile the proposals you have made me by or- tion of indemnities, classing as such those which der of the President with the inviolable principles regard American citizens and the Crown and of common justice; and on perceiving thai on subjects of His Catholic Majesty, for spoliations the part of the United States no basis is present. reciprocally committed to the period of the said ed of a due reciprocity for the adjustment of the convention, and thereafter, to the date of ihe condifferences pending, the said proposals being alto- firmation of the adjustment by the joint commisgether inadmissible.
sion. Five or seven members to compose the I repeat to you, sir, that the King, my master, commission, with this condition, that if they are being desirous to meet the wishes of the United Ave, each Government shall respectively nomiStates, in respect to the cession of the Floridas, nale a person for the fifth member, to be chosen although it is well known how highly important by lot, provided they cannot agree on the person those iwo provinces are to cover and secure the to be so chosen; the same to take place for the possessions of Spain in that part of America, fifth, sixth, and seventh, if there be seven memHis Majesty is ready to cede them, provided he bers; but ihe fifth, in the first instance, and the is compensated by an equivalent in ierritory be- fifth, sixth, and seventh, in the second, shall neilonging to the United States, and bordering on ther be Spaniards nor citizens of the United the Spanish possessions; and it is upder this idea Slates by 'birth or naturalization. They shall that the powers and instructions I have from my moreover be, by their profession and office, judges, Government are conceived. But you cannot fail of the number of those subjects who, among mar. to admit that the plan of adjustment proposed itime and commercial nalions, are usually em: involves exorbitant and enormous sacrifices io the ployed to judge and decide on matters connected prejudice of Spain, since, without offering any with maritime law and the law of nations, wheequivalent or compensation on the part of the ther in France, England, Russia, Austria, or the United States, it requires not only the cession of Netherlands; in both cases, the person so desig. both the Floridas, but also that of immense ter- nated to be provided with a certificate of the ritories belonging to the Spanish monarchy west. Government of the country he belongs to, pror. ward of Louisiana ; and ihat, in relation to the ing the opinion entertained of his integrity and question of reciprocal indemnities, it only compre- capacity, his quality and actual profession as a hends those respecting American citizens, omit- judge in the malters referred to, and also the asling those due to the Crown and subjects of surance that permission shall be granted to him His Catholic Majesty. This plan of adjustment for discharging the duties of the commission, in would amount to the following one: "Give me case the said person shall be chosen by lot.