The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 70
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
latter told King' that there was no doubt that France had ob-
tained possession of Louisiana. He also assured him that Eng-
land had no desire to extend her colonial empire to include the
Mississippi Valley. These early rumors of French possession were
later found to be premature, and merely suggested the possibility
of a combination of England and America to arrest French aggres-
sion and liberate Spanish America.2
Within a few months after the signing of the Treaty of San
Ildefonso, King reported to the secretary of state8 rumors then
current in London concerning the cession of Louisiana to France.
This act implied not merely undesirable neighbors in the persons
of emigres or superannuated soldiers from France, but likewise a
serious design to entice the western settlers or arouse the slaves in
the South. By November King was able to send home a copy of
the Treaty of Madrid,4 although each of the principals still con-
tinued to deny its existence. Later King attempted to persuade
the British government to take some action at Amiens looking to
the destoration of Louisiana to Spain. Although both Hawkes-
bury and Landsdowne were opposed to the transfer to France and
were ready to join the United States in defending the common
right to navigate the Mississippi, they believed it inadvisable to
suggest the subject in the Treaty of Amiens.' American dip-
lomacy, then, must depend upon its own efforts to neutralize the
effect of the retrocession.
The most obvious policy for the United States to pursue was
that of acquiring New Orleans and the Floridas. As soon as Mr.
King's warnings had had time to produce their natural effect, Jef-
ferson and his advisers took measures to meet the new issue raised
by the transfer. To Charles Pinckney, our minister at Madrid,
Madison penned a caution to watch the general interests of his
country," while three months later he instructed Robert R. Livings-
ton at Paris to make direct approaches to the French government
for the acquisition of the Floridas, or at least West Florida.7 For
Ilbid., III 572.
2See page 67.
'King, Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, III 414, 415, 447-449.
l'bid., IV 15.
6Ibid., IV 17-19, 56, 57, 58, 86, 108, 109, 123.
'State Papers and Correspondence Bearing upon the Purchase of the
Territory of Louisiana, 5, House Document No. 431, 57 Cong., 2 Sess.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907, periodical, 1907; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101040/m1/78/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.