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Relations with Spain.
dominions of His Majesty in America, or at least in 1803, nearly three years after His Majesty had on the continent of North America, is the great ceded back Louisiana to France, and when Mr. importance attached in the same note to the offer, Monroe was about concluding the purchase of which would have been not only unimportant, Louisiana at Paris with the Government of Bobut delusive and of no value, if applied to the naparte, the American Government admitted, in western bank of the Mississippi; which, inde the most formal manner, that the territory situpendent of its being sufficiently guarantied by its ated between the Mississippi and the Mobile belocal position, had been, as was well known in longed to His Catholic Majesty, and formed a February, 1803, retroceded to France some three part of West Florida, and not of Louisiana, as years before, and that Mr. Monroe was at Paris, it has since been wished to be supposed, His Maor on his way thither, to acquire it from France, jesty having been violently deprived of the peacewhose sovereignty was already acknowledged ful possession of the same, during his absence by the United States. It is, therefore, evident from the kingdom. You will be pleased, sir, to that the guaranty offered must have been of the recollect that while Mr. Monroe was negotiating territories on the North American continent be- the purchase of Louisiana at Paris, in 1803, Mr. longing to His Majesty, to the westward of the Pinckney at Madrid solemnly offered the King Mississippi, and of Louisiana, which no longer of Spain the guaranty of his dominions beyond belonged to Spain at the time the said offer was the Mississippi, in case His Majesty would agree made; and nothing so clearly evinces the under to sell to the United States at least the territory standing of the United States and of Mr. Pinck lying between the Mississippi and the Mobile ney as the very expressions employed by him in belonging to His Catholic Majesty-they will his note to prove the magnitude of the offer. He purchase the country between the rivers Missays: “ The immense importance of this offer to sissippi and Mobile belonging to His Catholic the Crown of Spain merits the serious considera- Majesty: It is impossible more explicitly to tion of His Majesty and his Ministers, when we acknowledge the sovereigaty of His Majesty over reflect that no other nation can make an offer so that territory, in addition to the acknowledgment highly advantageous. It is one which the United implied by the very act of applying to the King States would never have decided on making, but for the purchase of it, since no one purchases but from a conviction that the territories they now so- of the owner of the object wished to be purchased. licit of Spain are indispensably necessary to them." If the territory in question had belonged to France
You can judge how far these expressions were as a integral part of Louisiana, would it not applicable in February, 1803, to the guaranty of have been more natural that Mr. Monroe should the right bank of the Mississippi, which no longer have negotiated the purchase of it at Paris, where belonged to His Majesty since 1800, which was he then was, than that Mr. Pinckney should retroceded to France, and the acquisition of which have solicited it at Madrid at the same time ? by the United States was then negotiating at His Majesty, therefore, taking into consideration Paris, by Mr. Monroe; and whether their obvious the important fact that his right of sovereignty and literal meaning and the magnitude of the to the said territory remains unimpaired, notwithobject of the guaranty could be applicable to any standing his being dispossessed of the same under thing other than thai of all the possessions of His well-known circumstances, he cannot omit to Majesty in America, or at least of the dominions declare, on all occasions, that it never has been of Spain on the continent of North America nor will be his intention to relinquish his claim westward of the Mississippi, in exchange for the to his rights in that quarter, while he is at the advantages which the United States contempla- same time willing, by means of a suitable arrangeted on deriving by the purchase of the two Flori- ment in the proposed adjustment, or for a satisdas, or at least that part of West Florida lying factory equivalent, lo cede the said territory, tobetween the Mississippi and the Mobile. You gether with the rest of the Floridas, to the Uni. cannot, therefore, be surprised that, as His Ma- ted States, as well from a desire to meet their jesty is now deliberating on a general adjust wishes, as from a conviction of its importance ment with the American Government, including to the American Government, as was formerly an article by which it is proposed to cede the stated in the strongest terms by Mr. Pinckney in two Floridas to the United States for a suitable bis note just referred to. equivalent to the westward of the Mississippi, he You are pleased to point out in your note, as should advert to the formal offer of a guaranty a mode for settling the question of boundaries made by the United States, for this special pur. more certain than that of any guaranty, the espose, of his dominions and possessions beyond tablishment of a desert of thirty leagues between ihe Mississippi, (that is, beyond the western the frontier of Louisiana and that of the Spanish line stipulated in the same general adjustment,) possessions. Although His Majesty has a due as the boundary between the American territo- respect for the good faith and strict punctuality ries and those of His Majesty on the continent of the American Government, yet he does not of North America.
perceive any security preferable to the guaranty, In consequence of the abovementioned note of por that there would be any difficulty in connecto Mr. Pinckney, and the communication made to ing the one with the other; and, with a view to His Majesty's Government by the Government avoid disagreements on the frontiers, in stipu. of the United States on the 7th of February, lating the establishment of such a desert, provided 1803, I deem it necessary further to remark that, both Governments could agree on the requisite Relations with Spain.
measures for preventing this intermediary desert certain prohibitions relative to the land given to from being converted into a rallying point for them by the King. Those prohibitions were adventurers and banditii, where they might ex- considered by you and by me as annulling the ercise their pernicious activity in disturbing the grants; on the importance of this measure we peace of His Majesty's dominions as well as that are already agreed. Now I am informed that of the United States. But the principal difficulty Mr. Vargas has received another office from the still subsists, namely: that alihough the estab same department, (lodies,) by which office the lishment of this desert migh: be considered ex- difficulty with regard to him is reinoved ; that is, pedient, yet we may not agree on the exact line he is aciually free to sell the lands in question, of division, keeping in view the rights of each or 10 profit of them, (always in conformity to party to the territory west of the Mississippi, and the laws,) as may best suit them. I know not io that which oughi to afford 10 His Majesty in whether Messrs. Alagon and Punon Rostro have that quarter an equivalent for the iwo Floridas, received similar offices; it is to be presumed. which are proposed to be ceded to the United This news alarms me, because I foresee ihat this States in consideration of such equivalent. Transaction will ibrow new difficulties in the
If I rightly comprehend your verbal commu- way of the negotiation at Washington. It is in nications relative to the establishment of this in- vain lo expect that we shall arrive at a state of termediary desert, I persuade myself that the un- harmony without a transaction which shall emderstanding is, that the thirty leagues intended brace all the points in discussion. The cession to be comprehended in it will be fixed to the east- of Florida must make necessarily an article in ward of the bay of St. Bernard; and, under the this transaction; and it is quite certain that the impression that in your note of the 91h instant United States in such case cannot receive Florida you offer to enter into official explanations upon as indemnity for its reclamations if all the cesihese subjects, I invite you, in the name of union sions to individuals since the date of the convenand good understanding, to be pleased to present tion (1802) are not annulled. According to a them to me; since, although I consider the com- statement which I have just received through an munications which you had the goodness to make indirect channel from Philadelphia, these reclato me in your above mentioned note as important, mations may amount to the enormous sum of I hitherto conceive them to be only verbal com twenty-five millions of piastres. munications resulting from the intimation you
The office written to Mr. Vargas is, I am perwere pleased to give me. I therefore hope that suaded, unknown to you, and cannot have reyou will be so good as 10 present its coments in a sulted from our late accord reiative to the conmore formal sbape, in the expectation that ibe em vention; but your excellency will instantly perployment of your talents and good wishes, com-ceive that it will take that character or appearbined with my earnest endeavors, may finally ance, and do infinite mischief. I have already terminate these painful disputes on principles informed my Government of what has passed mutually honorable and satisfactory.
between your excellency and me relative to the I avail myself of this occasion to renew to you affair of Messrs. Alagon and others. Ought I at the assurances of my very distinguished consid- present to think that everything is changed since eration, and I pray God to preserve you many ihe ratification ? I cannot too much lament the years.
results. I yet hope that I may have been badly JOSE PIZARRO. informed relative to the fact in question, but I
have my information from a person who is in. Extract of a letter from Mr. Erving to Don Jose terested with Vargas, one to whom he had ceded Pizarro, dated
a portion of his interest in the land, before he
received the first office. Be it as it may, knowMADRID, July 22, 1818.
ing your excellency is in good faith, and that the The convention had scarcely been ratified, affair is worthy of your attention, I have thought when I was alarmed by iníormation, which I re- it my duty to expose it to you. ceived from a good source, that the King had Yours, with much respect and esteem, rescinded the prohibition placed on the late
GEORGE W. ERVING. grantees of land in Florida, as communicated to you by my private letter of May 14. On this occasion I wrote a confidential note to Mr. Pi.
Reply of Mr. Pizarro. zarro, pointing out the evil to result from such a
SACEDON, July 19, 1818. procedure. He replied to me in a way to tran- Sir: I have just received your esteemed letter quillize me, and to confirm my opinion of his which you addressed 10 me under yesterday's good faith.' Copies of that correspondence are date, communicating to me your apprehensions herewith enclosed.
respecting the alienation of the lands in Florida granted to several individuals. I repeat to you
all that I have said on this subject; consequently, Mr. Erving to Mr. Pizarro.
you may be tranquil, and I flatter myself that MADRID, July 18, 1818. nothing will happen which can injure the negoYour excellency will recollect that Messrs. liations with the Government of the United Alagon, Punon Rostro, and Vargas, were placed States, which ought to have been persuaded, long by an office from the Department of Indies under since, of the sincerity which directs the march
Relations with Spain.
and policy of the Spanish Goveroment, and of ted States, went into those of His Majesty ? This its earnest desire of a happy termination of all part of the argument is confirmed by what your the points in discussion, by means of a friendly excellency says in your last note, to prove to me arrangement. I renew to you, &c.
that Mr. Pinckney meant to offer a guaranty of JOSE PIZARRO.
he could have meant only those immediately on
the west bank of the Mississippi ; for that "such Mr. Erving to Don Jose Pizarro.
an offer had been not only unimportant, but MADRID, July 24, 1818.
vain and illusory, applied io the west bank; Sir: I had the honor to receive yesterday, your which, besides being sufficiently guarantied by excellency's nole of the 19th instant, replying to its locality, it was notorious in February, 1803, mine of the 9th instant, which contains some that it had been for three years then past retroremarks upon the proposals made to the Spanish ceded to France.” I say, ihen, that if this notoGovernment by Mr. Pinckney, on the 7th Febru riety bad reached Mr. Pinckney, he could not ary, 1803, and transmitted to me by your note bave mentioned the banks of the Mississippi as of the 8th instant.
belonging to His Majesty, or have spoken of that I declare to your excellency that, after the best and other rivers from the United Siates passing consideration which I was able to give to those through his territory. proposals, not having the archives of the legation The opinion that Mr. Pinckney meant to guario refer to, and correct my judgment whenever anty all the possessions of Spain, you find to be it might err, I was compelled to conclude that confirmed by the great importance which he gives Mr. Pinckney was at that time uninformed of the to that offer in the words which you quote from retrocession of Louisiana to France, which had his note; but allow me to observe that, though been previously made by Spaio. On this hypoth. he intended only a guaranty of that part of Louesis, I wrote to you on ihe 9th instant, and it will isiana which lies westward of the Mississippi, bis explain whatever may appear to you incongru- proposal merits all the importance which he has ous in that nole. li was not possible for me given to it. Again ; how could he pretend to otherwise to understand the offer made by Mr. Offer lo such a Power as Spain a guaranty of her Pinckney, because it was not possible to suppose possessions to the westward of Louisiana, knowthat he had been authorized by the American ing that the territory of such a Power as France Government, or that it had ever entered into his interposed between the United States and the own imagination, to guaranty the possessions of possessions to be guaranlied ? Such a proposal His Majesty to the westward of Louisiana on both would have been preposterous and offensive. American continents, or even as far down as the These observations render it unnecessary for isthmus of Pagama. Besides that, such a guar-me to reply specially to the inferences which anty was beyond the power of the United States, your excellency is pleased to draw in favor of the and therefore not worin the acceptance of Spain. Spanish pretensions to East Florida from the He meant then what was within the reach and offers made by Mr, Pinckney; for those offers, competency of the United States—a guaranty even though they had not originated in an unacof that part of Louisiana which is on the right quaintance with, or a misapprehension of the bank of ihe Mississippi. This is made still more then state of affairs, cannot now impugn the right evident by the words he used_beyond the Mis- or affect the claims of the United States. sissippi;" for in the other supposition, and had he The context of Mr. Pinckney's pole and probeen aware of the transfer of Louisiana to France, posals shows that he was then under an impreshe would have said " beyond Louisiana.” Again,sion that His Catholic Majesty was yet master is it to be supposed that he could be treating for of Louisiana and the Floridas. He speaks of the purchase of territory on the left bank of the the banks of the Mississippi as he speaks of the Mississippi, within the limits of Louisiana, when Floridas, and equally acknowledges the soverhe knew that the whole province had passed eignty of His Majesty in both territories by prointo the hands of France ? For, whatever claims posing to purchase in both. But, whatever may Spain may, yet make to that territory, it could have been his impressions, and whatever value not but be known to Mr. Pinckney that it was in might belong to such a kind of ackoowledgment fact a part of Louisiana. The conclusion which whilst Louisiana was in possession of France, I have made is still further and more particular- these became of no importance after the province ly forced upon me by Mr. Pinckoey's fourth pro- was transferred to the United States; for the posal, which is thus :
claims of the United States do not rest upon the 4th. “ If neither of these propositions can be opinions of Mr. Pinckney, but on the iransfer acceded to, they will then purchase certain tracts made by France. of country on the banks of the Mississippi, and the I do but justice, theo, to the good faith of the other rivers passing from their territory to that of Spanish Government when I suppose that it deHis Catholic Majesty, for which they will pay,"clined Mr. Pinckney's offer because it had already &c.
disposed of the country proposed to be purchased, What certain tracts on the banks of the Mis- as well as of that proposed to be guarantied. I sissippi could be purchased by Spain after Louis should not do justice to its political forecast if I iana had been transferred to France ? What could suppose that, being the sovereign of East rivers, passing through the territory of the Uni. Florida, it had declined to sell it for a reasonable Relations with Spain. equivalent in money, superadded to a guaranty the American troops under the command of Gen("immensely important," as Mr. Pinckney well eral Jackson had entered His Majesty's territory says) of His Majesty's remaining possessions on in the Floridas, and stating that he had demandthat continent. With respect more particularly ed the surrender of the Spanish fort of St. Marks, to the guaranty, whatever might have been the at Appalache, the feeble garrison of which is said disposition of Mr. Pinckney, or even of the Amer- to have been surrendered to him as prisoners of ican Government, at the epoch referred to, your war. Notwithstanding the circumstantial details excellency must be sensible that the relative state of this intelligence, and the probability attached of possessions is at this time so altogether differ- to them, from the recollection of wbat took place ent, that no motive sufficiently powerful can be in 1810, in West Florida, to the westward of the found to induce the United Staies to enter into Perdido, and more recently at Amelia Island, any similar obligation as to any portion of His His Majesty could not persuade himself, that at Majesty's territories west of Louisiana.
the very time when he was so zealously and faithReferring to a suggestion made in my last note, fully promoting, as must be evident to you, the as well as in our iwo previous conferences, re- satisfactory termination of the negotiations pendspecting a desert of thirty leagues, between the ing between the two Governments, the generals confines of Louisiana and the Spanish posses- and officers of the United States would conduct sions, as a better security than a guaranty, your themselves in so hostile a manner, by violating excellency is pleased to inform me that ihough and attacking, in a state of profound peace, the His Majesty thinks that no security is better than territories and establishments of a friendly Power. a guaranty, yet he has no objection that the one But subsequent confidential advices which have kind should be added to the other; and, though been received of these occurrences not only con. the principal difficulty remains, that is to say, firm the truth of former reports, but present cirwhere this desert shall be established, your ex- cumstances of the most serious character respectcellency invites me to put my suggestion in the ing the violation of the Spanish territory, the shape of a formal proposal. I beg leave to remind capture of the fort of St. Marks, and the suryour excellency thai, in my note of the 91b, I render of the garrison as prisoners of war; on have said that this plan of a desert is the only which particular circumstance His Majesty finds kind of security which occurs to me. It was not himself under the necessity of demanding an imthen my intention, nor can it be now, as you will mediate explanation of the Government of the observe by what is above said, to add this to any United States. Information has also been received other kind of security; nor was it my intention of an intimation of a most violent nature, made to offer this, but upon the supposition that His to the commandant of Pensacola by General Majesty's Government should consent to the Jackson, who seems to have taken an attitude Colorado as the western limit of Louisiana, pot indicating a determination to pursue the course doubting but, that point agreed on, we should be of his unprovoked violences and aggressions. able to arrange all the others with great facility. The contrast presented by the moderate and I have no hesitation in expressing myself to your friendly conduct of the Spanish Government with excellency in writing explicitly and frankly, as I that of the American generals and officers in that have always done in conversation; and nothing quarter has excited feelings of the most painful would make me so happy as to unite my most kind in the mind of His Majesty; and as a final earnest efforts with yours, directed by your con- and solid arrangement can only be produced by ciliatory temper and superior intelligence, to bring the reciprocal combination of conciliatory dispoto an honorable and harmonious conclusion the sitions on both sides, and as these dispositions do differences which unhappily exist between our not appear, from a view of the facts and circumtwo countries.
stances just alluded to, to be manifested by the My Government will never consent, upon any United States, I have received His Majesty's consideration whatever, to give any guaranty to commands to make this frank communication to His Majesty of any part of his possessions ; but you, in order that your answer may serve for his I will undertake, on its part, to stipulate that a government upon ihe matter in question. desert shall be placed between his possessions and The King, nevertheless, entertains the hope those of the United States, if by ihat means we that the American Government, actuated by those can arrive at an accord with regard to the west principles of justice which constitute the only ern boundary, as well as on all the other existing real and solid support of all Governmeats, will questions; and, whenever your excellency will not hesitate to disapprove proceedings which are inform me that the pretension to receive any not only repugnant to the laws of nations, and other species of security is withdrawn, I will then the principles which regulate the conduct of all state where I propose that this desert should be civilized Powers, but, by the experience of all placed. I renew, &c.
ages, not excepting our own, ultimately produce GEORGE W. ERVING. the most serious evils to those which commit
them, or tolerate their commission. His Majesty
therefore flatters himself that the Government of Don Jose Pizarro to Mr. Erving.
the United States, anxious to preserve its just SACEDON, July 26, 1818.
reputation for good faith, will, in giving positive Sır: It is some days since this Government has orders for the evacuation by the American troops received intelligence, in an unofficial way, that of the fort of St. Marks and the whole Spanish
Relations with Spain. territory, likewise take effectual measures to pre- Government, I am wholly unable to give the exrept the recurrence of similar proceedings, which, planation which you require ; but shall not fail, if authorized and countenanced, must inevitably in pursuance of your desire, to transmit to the produce a suspension of all negotiation.
United States, without loss of time, a copy of Under this impression, I have to request that, your communication. In the meanwhile, if your if you are authorized to give any explanation excellency can see any prospect of terminating, upon these occurrences, you will communicate by a friendly arrangement, to be made either bere them to me for His Majesty's information; and, or at Washington, the negotiations pending bein case you are not, that you will have the good-tween the two Governments, I trust that these reness to transmit this communication to your ports can be no obstacle to its success. It ought Government, in order to obtain an answer which io be presumed that my Government, whose just may fix His Majesty's ideas upon a subject of sentiments His Majesty is well persuaded of, has such high importance, and direct his views in acted on sufficient motives ; or that, if its officers relation to the definitive negotiation now carry- have transgressed its orders, their conduct will ing on, the prosecution of which must, in one way be disapproved of. The outrages and violences or other, be decisively influenced by the spirit in practised on the persons and property of Ameriwhich these events are viewed by ihe American can citizens for many years past, by governors Goveroment.
and other officers of His Majesty in his AmeriI reiterate to you, sir, the assurances of my dis- can colonies, in contempt of the rights of intinguished respect, and pray God to preserve you dividuals, of the law of nations, and the existmany years.
JOSE PIZARRO. ing treaty, have excited the constant reclama.
tions of the American Government, renewed by Mr. Erving to Don Jose Pizarro.
me in a note to you as late as the twelfth instant. MADRID, July 27, 1818.
Does your excellency's reply to that nute give
the satisfaction required ? 'Yet the moderation Sir: I have had the honor to receive your ex. and conciliatory policy of my Government has cellency's pote of the 22d instant, enclosing an never relinquished the hope of obtaining, by entire copy of Mr. Pinckney's letter of February conciliatory means, a reparation of the wrongs 7, 1803, adverted to, and intended to have been which it has suffered; and these have never been transmitted to me in your note of the 19th in- taken as a ground for suspending negotiation. stant. On reading that letter, I remain confirmed However, then, the facts now in question may in the opinion which I expressed to you in my prove to have been, I hope that they will not be reply of the 24th instant, that Mr. Pinckney could made an impediment to such an amicable prompt not have been aware, when he wrote it, of the adjustment of all the points in discussion beretrocession to France which had been made by tween the two countries as may remove all posSpain. The manner in which he treats of the sibility of future collision, and lay the foundamisconduct of the Intendant at New Orleans, and tion of permanent friendship; and the less an of the necessity thence arising of the United impediment, as His Majesty having long since Stales acquiring a permanent establishmest on signified his disposition to cede Florida to the the Mississippi, leaves not a possibility of sup. United States, the military operations which the posing that he was acquainted with the transfer United States may be forced to in the war made io France. Evidently, according to his under on them by the savages and others from that standing, New Orleans belonged to Spain; he territory cannot be considered important as effectof course considered Louisiana as belongiog 10 ing the permanent interests of Spaia. Spain; hence bis proposal to purchase certain I renew, &c. tracts of that colony on the east bank of the Mis
GEORGE W. ERVING. sissippi; and if such a virtual recognition of the sovereignty of Spain at that time in East Florida,
Don Jose Pizarro to Mr. Erving. founded on an upacquaintance with facts, could be worth anything, it were equally good as re
PALACE, August 6, 1818. gards New Orleans, respecting which, indeed, it Sir: I have received your esteemed note under was more formal, for there he demanded the io- date of the 28th of the last month, in reply to ter position of the Sovereign's authority to rem- mine of the 26th of the same month, touching edy an evil arising out of the misconduct of the the positive, although as yet unofficial, informalatendant. I renew, &c.
tion which this Government has respecting the GEORGE W. ERVING. entrance of the American army, under the com
mand of General Jackson, into the Spanish ter.
ritory, and the taking of the fort of St. Mark and Mr. Erving to Don Jose Pizarro.
ils garrison as prisoners of war, with other cirMADRID, July 28, 1818.
cumstances as disagreeable as they are contrary SIR: I have had the honor to receive your ex- to the laws of nations. cellency's note of the 26th instant, stating the un- You are pleased to make known to me that official and confidential information which has you want information and instructions from your been given to this Government respecting the Government on this affair, and, consequently, conduct of General Jackson in Florida. Being that you are not in a situation to give me the now for a long time without advices from my explanations which His Majesty might desire ;