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The disadvantages involved in the acquisition of Louisiana were obvious enough. Neglect and misgovernment by France had brought the province into a deplorable condition. The lack also of any adequate system of taxation for the support of government and the maintenance of the church made Louisiana, in the eyes of Spain, a pauper colony, a sort of public charge that probably could not take care of itself financially or otherwise. It was the first colony Spain had ever held that had not been settled originally by Spaniards. A new system of colonial administration and different social institutions would have to be superimposed upon the French inhabitants, who probably would be disaffected and hard to govern. Its proximity to the English colonial dominion on the other side of the Mississippi, moreover, might engender friction and perhaps bring on war with Great Britain. Nor was anything known about the nature or value of Louisiana itself, beyond the sparse settlements along the Mississippi; and these were quite insignificant. As a substitute for Florida, finally, the odds of intrinsic value appeared about equal.
But these drawbacks lost their importance before the arguments in favor of accepting and retaining Louisiana. To begin with, the great benefits to be derived from an adherence to the Family Compact were not perhaps quite so patent to the Spaniards as to the French, but at all events it was not the part of wisdom to alienate France by a rejection of her gift. Besides, the possession of Louisiana was useful, if for no other reason than that the Mississippi furnished an admirable line of demarcation for the Spanish dominions in North America. Apart from this consideration, however, if Spain did not take the province it might fal eventually into the power of the English.? Developed under the
1 "A great influence with the king has been the consideration of not losing the effect of so fine a deed, the air of cordiality with which the two courts will appear before the world, serving to bring together the two nations still more.” Archivo Histórico-Nacional, Madrid. Estado, Legajo, 3889 A. Wall to Grimaldi, November 13, 1762.
"Lorsque cette malheureuse convention fut rendue publique le cabinet de Versailles tâcha d'apaiser l'opinion, profondement blessée, en insinuant dans ses justifications officieuses que la Louisiane était menacée du même sort que le Canada, et que l'on n'abandonnait que ce que l'on n'eût pu garder longtemps." Martin, Histoire de France, t. xv, p. 595.
auspices of that mighty and enterprising people, Louisiana would assuredly become dangerous to the peace and safety of Mexico. Even in the hands of Spain the province was too vast in extent to serve as a very effective barrier against English aggression. Still, on the whole, Louisiana had better be even loosely defended by Spaniards than suffered to become a sturdy and vigorous English colony, with its fortified posts well advanced toward the Mexican frontier.
All things considered, from the commercial and political point of view furthermore, the loss of Florida had been quite a heavy blow to Spain. The acquisition of Pensacola, added to the cession of Mobile from France and the previous possession of Jamaica, gave the English such a hold upon the Gulf of Mexico that the imposition of any adequate check upon their contraband trade with the Mexican region appeared well-nigh hopeless. But if the English had thus been admitted to the Gulf it was some satisfaction at least to know that with New Orleans under Spanish control, French smuggling would be suppressed. Lastly, that Louisiana possessed some natural wealth could not be doubted, and under a wise administration its resources could be developed, alike to the profit of Spain and to that of its new province."
1 Cf. supra, p. 453.
By the acquisition of Florida “the English realized their desire of old to get a footing on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, so as to carry on their commerce with New Spain, the only section of country in the western Indies free up to that time from their illicit traffic." Ferrer del Rio, Historia del Reinado de Carlos III, ed. 1856, t. i, p. 377. In his correspondence with Tanucci, the Neapolitan minister of Charles III, Wall declared that, in his opinion, the real advantage which England gained by the acquisition of Florida was nothing more than a greater facility for navigating the Gulf of Mexico. Simancas, Estado, Legajo, 5978. Wall to Tanucci, December 14 and 28, 1762.
3 Cf. infra, note 4.
• Several of the motives above discussed as actuating both France and Spain are set forth in an official brief (extracto), prepared about 1767 for the Council of the Indies. It states that the king of France decided to cede Louisiana, principally because he desired to “maintain the closest possible union and friendship with Spain.” Since also, the Spanish commerce with the Indies was so flourishing, he did not wish to have a settlement on the Gulf of Mexico which was likely to carry on an illicit traffic, practically impossible to prevent, and which “contrary to his intentions might lead eventually to unpleasant disputes. To this end he authorized the Duke of Choiseul to draw up an act of cession, pure and simple. Aware of these circumstances, his Catholic Majesty . . . was inclined to accept it for various considerations:
Thus having described the cession of Louisiana in 1762, and explained the motives of France and Spain in accomplishing it, a few words remain to be said about its meaning for the history of the United States. Few diplomatic transactions have exhibited so strange a medley of motives and emotions - at once those of impulsiveness, policy, relief, reluctance and practical calculation, all of them pervaded with a tinge of indifference and carelessness. To the Frenchman and to the Spaniard of 1762 the transfer of a vast and unknown tract in the wilds of North America was, on the whole, a rather trivial performance. Had they realized that the Louisiana territory stretched over 900,000 square
“1. Because, by adding to his dominions of New Spain the territories which his Most Christian Majesty had possessed between them and the River Mississippi, this river from its mouth to its source would serve as a fixed and definite boundary for his royal possessions in North America.
“2. Because, by this acquisition the French would be deprived of a point of vantage from which they had carried on very extensive smuggling operations in the Gulf of Mexico, and more especially along the shores of Campeachy and Honduras, not to mention what they were accustomed to do in the interior of the country.
“3. Because, although granting that this new acquisition mi be a heavy burden upon the royal exchequer — in view of the fact that no taxation had been levied there, even to the extent of tithes for the maintenance of the clergy and worship, it being necessary to provide for it by a regular appropriation — one must bear in mind that this appropriation would have a substantial return from the diminution of illicit traffic, and from the advantages that would accrue to the king's vassals by reason of the commerce of that new dominion.
"4. Because, were his Majesty to decline the cession, the eventual fate ... of the colony would be doubtful; and if by any chance it might fall into the hands of England, in time of peace it would be steadily developed and fortified in the direction of the frontiers of our dominions, it would become widened out along the Missouri and other rivers, the good will of the Indians would be won over, evil reports would be circulated against us, and in case of an outbreak of war the colony would be close to us and well equipped for attacks by way of the provinces of Texas and New Mexico. It was never believed that this . . . colony would become a bulwark for our America; the supposition has always been that should the English intend to invade it, even if we had a large force of troops there, we could not seriously check their movements along an extended frontier of five hundred leagues.” The last sentence of the extracto is rather difficult to translate, and requires a paraphrase to make its meaning reasonably clear. The text is as follows: "Pero se consideró que no seria lo misneo entrar de nuevo que tenerla ocupada de antemano, y hallarse ya adelantados y fortificados á nuestras espaldas.” “But the consideration prevailed that the invasion of Louisiana, were it a Spanish province, would be something quite different from suffering it to be developed and fortified by the English at our very back.” Archivo Histórico-Nacional, Madrid. Estado, Legajo, 3889 A.
miles — an area more than four times that of France or Spain but little difference, probably, would have been made in the readiness of France to part with it, and in the comparative reluctance of Spain to take it. Perhaps it might not be too much to say that in the bizarre diplomacy of 1762 over the cession of Louisiana to Spain, the fate of the United States yet unborn was decided. Had France assigned the territory to England in that year, or if she had retained it, the history of the period 1789-1815 justifies the belief that the result would have been the same; the region must have become a part of the British colonial dominion. When the United States was in its infancy, all conditions, geographical, political, social and economic, pointed toward the formation of two confederacies, one along the Atlantic seaboard, the other along the Mississippi. For many years, if not for all time, that river must have been at once the western boundary of the United States, and, even had that country retained its unity, a bar to its national development.
However unconscious and unwilling her course of action, Spain has been the most potent external factor in the territorial expansion and aggrandizement of the United States. Most of the great republic's domain was once under the Spanish sway. The cession of Louisiana to Spain in 1762 was the necessary prelude to the purchase of 1803, and the story of the West beyond the Mississippi has been in the highest degree the story of our national prosperity and power.
WILLIAM R. SHEPHERD.
EGYPT AND ENGLAND.
WHERE is no known method of governing which is not applied
to some portion of the British Empire, and no two portions of it bear an identical relation to the home government. I suppose we may now call Egypt the latest important acquisition of the British crown. The method of acquisition and the method of control, however, are alike marked by the most extraordinary indirection, for neither ownership nor rule is complete. As yet Egypt is under the nominal suzerainty of the Porte and pays to the Sultan a large annual tribute in recognition of that fact. But Mehemet Ali, after England had wrested the country from the French in 1803 and restored it to Turkey, got up a petty civil war, had himself elected Pasha, and wrung recognition as a semiindependent ruler from his suzerain. Until 1831 he crushed one form after another of resistance to his power, and by his son Ibrahim reduced Syria to his sway. This was a wonderful man: but that England forbade him he would have thrown off entirely the nominal rule of Turkey. He was ruthless in his dealings, but he reformed administration, laws and education to what, for the time and place, was a wonderful point.
His successors down to 1863 were unimportant and mediocre persons. It was from one of them, Said Pasha, that the concession for the Suez Canal was secured by the French. The great enterprise was undertaken in 1859 and the work was done by what amounted to forced labor, the tale of workmen being secured by laws of a despotic nature. In 1863 Ismail, the grandson of
· This article is based on Lord Cromer's report for 1902, a masterly review of twenty years' work, on Lord Milner's England in Egypt, on a few volumes and articles now useful only in parts, and on notes made by the writer while sojourning in Egypt for nearly four months during the season of 1903-1904. The recent diplomatic arrangement between France and England does not appear to have gone further in regulating their Egyptian relations than the removal of friction in the management of the finances. This, however, as the context will show, is a matter of vital importance, destined to free the action of Great Britain in almost every important reform.