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should wish, under the sense I entertain of the great importance of the several objects to which it invites the attention of this Government.

I have myself obtained the permission of The Prince Regent to make a short excursion to Ireland, on my private affairs; but I shall certainly return to London by the middle of November, and shall lose no time, as soon after that period as my Colleagues shall be re-assembled, to bring the various objects referred to in your Note under their deliberation.

I request you will accept the assurance, &c. John Quincy Adams, Esq.


MESSAGE from the President of The United States to Con

gress, transmitting Correspondence, 1816, 1817, between The United States and the Government of Spain, relative to the Subjects of Controversy between the 2 Nations.-22nd February, 1817.


1 TRANSMIT to the Senate a Report of the Secretary of State, complying with their Resolution of the 20th instant. 22nd February, 1817.


Department of State, 22nd February, 1817. The Secretary of State, to whom was referred the Resolution of the Senate of the 20th instant, requesting "the President to lay before the Senate a copy of the Correspondence between the Government of The United States and the Government of Spain, relative to the subjects of controversy between the 2 Nations, except such part as he may deem improper to disclose," has the honour to submit to the President the accompanying Papers, marked A, B and C, as containing the information which is supposed to be wanted. All which is respectfully submitted,


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(A.) — CORRESPONDENCE with the Spanish Minister in

The United States.-1816.

No. 1.-Mr. Onis to the Secretary of State. (Translation.) SIR,

Philadelphia, 22nd February, 1816. Tae Letter with which you honored me on the 19th of last month, in answer to mine of the 30th December and 2nd January, had 2 objects: The first to make kpown to me the complaints which this Government considers itself as having against Spain, for a long time past. The second, to communicate the resolution of the President on the 3 points embraced in my Notes mentioned above. (1816-1817.]


You state that the President would have wished that I should not have confined myself to bringing forward the complaints of His Majesty, but should have likewise proposed a reparation for those of The United States against Spain.

The claim for damages and injuries, of which you speak, would have been definitively arranged and settled, if the diplomatic relations between the 2 Powers had not been interrupted since the memorable epoch of 1808; and this Government cannot but know, that this in. terruption ought not to be imputed to Spain, His Majesty having made, from that time, the greatest efforts to maintain them pure and unaltered.

I have assured you, verbally and in writing, that His Majesty desired nothing so anxiously, as to satisfy The United States for every injury they may have received from Spain, and to proceed to give this satisfaction with that generosity and high sense of honor, which have at all times distinguished the Spanish character, and which have always slione conspicuously in the conduct of the Government of the King my Master: but all these points, as being anterior to the epoch. I have mentioned in my Notes, and since then pending between the 2 Cabinets, ought to be the object of a particular Negotiation; and nothing is more natural or more conformable to justice and good faith than that, for facilitating this very Negotiation, the state of things between the 2 Nations should be reduced to the same footing on which it was at the epoch referred to, since, from that time, there has neither been any official Correspondence between the 2 Governments, nor have The United States received the least injury from Spain ; and if they have received any, it bas been contrary to the will of His Majesty, and without his knowledge. Of this class, without doubt, is that which

you mention in your Note above cited, that is, that British Troops and Agents had been introduced into Florida, and had communication with the ludian Enemies of this Republic in its Jast War with Great Britain. The rigorous neutrality which His Majesty has observed in the Island of Cuba, East Florida, and his other Possessions, ought to convince the President, that the Governor of West Florida (who is, I suppose, the Person to whom you allude) had like orders with the other Chiefs to observe the most strict neutrality, and if he has failed in obeying them, he would have been severely chastised, had you have given to me the least intimation as to his conduct.

I will now pass to the second object of which your Letter treats; that is to say, to the resolution which this Government has taken on the 3 points stated in my Letters of the 30th December and 2nd January

The first was confined to a request that, in conformity to the principles I have stated, (that is, that the affairs between the 2 Nations should be placed on the same footing they were before the interrup. tion of the diplomatic relations between them,) His Majesty should be

put in possession of that part of Florida which the Troops of this Union had occupied. You were pleased to state in reply, that this Go. vernment, believing that it had a well-founded right, not only to the part of West Florida which their Troops had occupied, but to a greater extent of Territory, comprehended in the limits of the Viceroyalty of Mexico, had judged that, with the same propriety that the King my Master occupied those Possessions, The United States might retain that part of West Florida they held, until it was decided by a friendly Convention to whom it belonged.

Permit me to observe that there is no parity in the cases. The Country to which you allude, extending to the Rio Bravo, or del Norte, has been under the dominion of Spain, not only before and since France ceded Louisiana to His Majesty by the Treaty of 1764, but from the time of the discovery and conquest of Mexico, without ever having passed by Treaty to any other Nation : whereas the Floridas ceased to be a French or Spanish Possession, and passed into the bands of England, under the name of East and West. Florida, in the year 1763. They remained under the power of His Britannic Majesty, as such, until the year 1783, when, by conquest, the Spanish arms, and by solemn Treaty, they passed under the dominion of His Catholic Majesty. From this you will infer that, he the interpretation which may be wished to be given to the Treaty of retrocession of Louisiana, made between France and Spain in 1900, what it may, the 2 Floridas can never be directly or indirectly included in it; first, because these Provinces, being in the legitimate possession of England from the year 1763 to the year 1783, France could not cede them to Spain by the Treaty of 1764, nor Spain retrocede them to France, not having received them from her, unless there should have been an Article on this point in which express and direct mention was made of the Cession; and secondly, because the 2 Contracting Parties, (Spain and France,) bave declared in the most solemn manner; the first, that she did not cede to France any part of the Floridas ; the second, that she had not acquired them by the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, or of retrocession of 1800, nor had had the least intention to set up a claim to them. You know very well, that, according to all the acknowledged principles of justice, no one can be put out of the possession of what he holds, until the right of the person who claims it shall be proved and recognized ; and that, by a natural consequence of this principle, Spain having been in possession of West-Florida when The United States laid claim to it, it is proper she should keep it until this Republic shows a better right,- which ought to be done in a friendly Negotiation between the 2 Powers; and that it would be anticipating the Negotiation to begin by taking possession of the Territory, the right to which, so far as it respects The United States, ought to be the object of the Negotiation itself. These are the grounda which support the first demand I made on you, in the name of His Majesty, in my Letter of the 30th December, and I flatter myself that, reflecting on facts so well known, you cannot do less than consider them just.

I pass now to the 2nd point;—this is confined to asking the punishment, according to Law, of those turbulent and seditious Individuals, who have taken up arms within the Territory of this Confederation, and from thence carrying desolation, destruction and horror into the Frontier Provinces of the Crowu of Spain ; and not content with the atrocities they have heretofore committed, they are now actually engaged in recruiting Troops, and preparing Armaments in the bosom of this Country, again to invade these Provinces. I have named the Ringleaders of these Rebels, who have violated the neutrality and the most sacred Laws of The United States, by the well known fact of their having armed in their Territory, and marched from thence in military and hostile array, to subvert the peace and good order of the Doininions of the King my Master. I have named Toledo, Bernardo Gutierrez, Doctor Robinson and others, who perpetrated the horrible deeds at St. Antonio de Bexas: who recruited their Troops in Louisiana, and even in the limits of New. Orleans ; and proceeded from thence, as an Army, to assault the Province of New Mexico, who committed there outrages never heard of, even among Savage Tribes; and who, after being defeated, again took refuge in the Territory of this Union, where they are now endeavouring to raise new Forces to repeat the same excesses. Toledo, Bernardo Gutierrez, Doctor Robinson and their Followers, to this time, move about with impunity in Louisiana, and even in the City of New Orleans itself. The infraction of the Laws of The United States, and the violation of the dignity and honour of the American People, of which they are guilty, is public and notorious, not only in this Coun. try, but in the whole world. I stated to you in addition, on this point, that the Ringleaders I had named to you were expecting considerable reinforcements from Kentucky and Tennessee, to undertake a bostile Expedition against the neighbouring Possessions of my Sovereign; and that I had been advised that these reinforcements, composed of American Citizens, were raised for the purpose of uniting with them.

You were pleased to state to me, in reply on this point, that the President had determined not to take any part in the disputes which had arisen between His Catholic Majesty and the revolted Provinces of this Continent; and that, in conformity to this system, the Governors of different States, as well as the President himself, had issued repeated Proclamations, directing that all those who set on foot or promoted the recruiting of Adventurers, with the design of invading the Possessions of His Catholic Majesty, should be prosecuted according to Law; that the information received at your Department from very respectable Persons is, that the Force collected by Toledo is very inconsiderable, and composed principally of Frenchmen and Spaniards, without the Territory of The United States, where their Laws do not reach; that my statements on this point are not circumstantial, and that as soon as I pointed out American Citizens, who promoted the Expeditions, collected the Troops, or facilitated the supplies to which I referred, and if these collections of Troops, &c. were in the Territory of this Union, they should be immediately dispersed, and the Persons implicated should be prosecuted according to Law.

To satisfy you on this point, with that simplicity and candor which belongs to me, I will divide into 2 Classes these seditious Persons of whom I have spoken to yon in my Notes.' I will include in the 1st class, Toledo, Bernardo Gutierrez, and Doctor Robinson, as violators of the Laws of the Neutrality of The United States, an infraction so notorious and so evident, that I should do wrong to detain you in referring to the innumerable acts which demonstrate it in an incontestable manner. It is known to you, to your Government, and to the whole Country, that with the Troops they individually raised 3 years ago in Louisiana, they marched in military array, to invade the internal Provinces of the Viceroyalty of Mexico; the horrible assassinations they committed, particularly those by Bernardo Gutierrez at St. Antonio de Bexar, are known. And finally, it is known, that being defeated by the Troops of the King mv Master, they took refuge again in this Country, and that the Government of Louisiana permitted them to remain undisturbed in the very Territory whose neutrality they had violated. This single fact is, in my opinion, a sufficient reason why the Law should take hold of them, before they leave the jurisdiction of The United States to renew melancholy scenes. But I will give to you even new proofs, that these Highway Robbers have not ceased from that time to concert, and to realize, new projects against the tranquillity of the Inhabitants of the Dominions of the King my Master.

The annexed Copies of intercepted Letters from Toledo, which have been officially sent to me, prove beyond doubt, that Toledo had armed in New Orleans 3 Vessels, in which he carried arms and munitions of War, to give support to the lusurrection in Mexico; and that be returned to that City, bringing back with him Herrera, who calls himself Minister Plenipotentiary from the revolted Provinces to this Government. You will see, with surprize, that Toledo, not content with tbus openly violating the most sacred Laws of Neutrality of this Confederation, bad the impudence to prostitute the respectable name of this Government by asserting, in one of his said Letters, that The United States only waited the arrival of the Minister of the Revolutionists of Mexico, to acknowledge its Independence. The other

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