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No. 2.- The Secretary of State to the Chevalier de Onis.

Department of State, 10th June, 1816. I had the honour to receive your Letter, of 22nd February, 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 couditions of reciprocal advantage, and with equal honour 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 honour now to state, that Mr. Erving, Minister Plenipotentiary of The United States to His Catholic Majesty, has been in. structed 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 22nd, 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 22nd; 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 2 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 im. port of this term would, in my opinion, be satisfied, if the whole Pro. vince 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

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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 ths 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. Ildephonso, 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 the Article, in regard to the point in discussion, and for any purpose whatever, the first of those 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 Louisana 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 noticea.

By the Treaty of St. Uldephonso, in 1800, the Province of Louisiana is ceded to France by Spain, “ with the same extent that it now bas 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 Trealy of 1803, between The United States and France, this Article of the Treaty betweep France and Spain is inserted verbatim, by which The United States are placed precisely on the same ground on which France herself stood.

If we recur to the several provisions, we shall find that each has a distinct object, for which it would not have been necessary to provide, especially in that mode, ifit had been the intention of the Parties that no portion of West-Florida, in question, should have been exempted from the Cession. By stipulating, 6rst, that the Province was ceded “ with the same extent that it now has in the hands of Spain," direct reference was made to that portion of West Florida lying between the Mississippi, the Iberville, the Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, and the Perdido. This provision cannot be construed as alluding to any other part of the Province, and its sole effect was intended to be, to include it in the C'ession to France. The second provision is equally ex

plicit, " that it had wlien France possessed it.” It is known that France bad held the Province to that extent before the Treaties of 1763, by which she had ceded it to Spain and Great Britain, and by this Stipulation it was ceded back to her in the same extent, so far as Spain could do it. The 3rd provision has an object equally distinct, and is the more important, because, by giving it its intended effect, the construction given to the others is fully confirmed;" Such as it should be after the Treaties subsequently entered into between Spain and other States." By the Treaty between The United States and Spain, in 1795, the Boundaries, as established between The United States and Great Britain in 1783, and the free Navigation of the Mississippi, are confirmed, with the addition of the right of deposit at New Orleans. This provision applies to this Treaty, and 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 bad 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, tbat 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 to insert in it an Extract from the Treaty of St. Ildephonso, by which the Province had been ceded by Spain to France, with intention to place The United States, in regard to Spain, on the same ground, precisely, that France held herself under the Treaty of St. Ildephonso, unprejudiced by any opinion of her own. Nothing bad occurred in the Negotiation with France to excite a doubt, that the Perdido was the Eastern Boundary of Louisiana. It had been the Boundary of the Province when held by France, before the Treaties of 1763, and it was made so again by the Treaty of St. Ildephonso, which restored it to her. Such was the construction which the American Ministers gave to that Treaty, who were engaged in the Negotiation with France, and such their representation of it to their Goverument, after the Treaty with France was concluded. It merits particular attention, that when your Government was requested to cede to The United States such Territory as they were desirous of obtaining, prior to their acquisition of Louisiana, it replied to their Minister at Madrid, by a Letter of the 3d of May, 1803, “that by the retrocession made to France of Louisiana, that Power regained the Province with the limits it had, saving the rights acquired by other Powers; and that The United States could address themselves to the French Government, to negotiate the acquisition of Territories which might suit their interest." With the subject thus presented before the Government of The United States, the fair construction of the Article of the Treaty of St. Ildephonso, maintained by the American Ministers in their official Communication accompanying 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 night express, in that stage, respecting it.

* See Vol. 1817-18. Page 230.

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 2 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 Setilement 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 2019, of that year, I beg to refer you to them for a further view of the sentiments of this Government on the subject.

lo 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 People of Caracas, 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 Leiter 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 establish none of the facts alleged as to the raising of Troops in The United States, but recite only vague rumours to that effect. I have the honor to transmit to you a Copy of a Letter on this subject from Mr. Dick, the Attorney

a 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 thein.

As I cannot doubt that you have taken erroneous impressions from the misrepresentation of partial or misinformed Individuals, aud that you have communicated the same to your Government, I rely on your candour 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 wbich the President is now making to adjust our differences with Spain, should have the desired resull; and it is presumable that a correct knowledge of the conduct of The United States, in these cire cumstances, would promote it.

I have the honor to be, &c. H. E. The Chevalier de Onis.



(Enclosure.)Mr. Dick, (Allorncy of The United States for the District of Louisiana,) to the Secretary of State.

New Orleans, 1st March, 1816. 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 uoder date of the 30th of

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