The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 11
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The Louisiana-Texas Frontier
tainly should not regard it as giving us a claim to the Pacific. It
was a mere order to take military possession of the territory, and
seems to have emanated originally from the Department of Foreign
Affairs, under the direct inspiration of Napoleon.1o The great
despoiler who was reconstructing the map of Europe would not
hesitate to extend his projected colonial sway over Texas to the
Rio Grande, especially if this brought him nearer the famed mines
of Mexico. He might use even such a poor source as Du Pratz's
Histoire to bolster his pretensions.
Before the cession of Louisiana to the United States our repre-
sentatives had on more than one occasion expressed themselves in
favor of guaranteeing the Spanish possessions west of the Missis-
sippi in return for the cession of the Floridas and in this they
seem to parallel the suggestions of contemporary Spanish officials.
Our representative public men had long desired these two Spanish
provinces, or at least enough of West Florida to command the
entire eastern bank of the Mississippi, but did not consider the
possibility of acquiring territory beyond it. Yet both Livingston
and Monroe had the sagacity to accept Napoleon's proffer of Louisi-
ana, even if they had to exceed their instructions to do so. They
did not lose sight of these instructions, however, but used them
in the light of the indefinite Third Article of the Treaty, to extend
the limits of their acquisition as far as possible. This meant to
claim West Florida to the Perdido, on the east, and to make sure
of this region and ultimately of all the Floridas by a supplemental
western claim to the Rio Grande. The latter could be relinquished
in proportion as Spain showed herself willing to accede to our
wishes in regard to the Floridas. This was evidently the chief
motive that led Livingston to devise our untenable but fascinat-
ingly puzzling claim to West Florida; that induced the possibly
jealous Monroe and the home officials to support him; and that
made the Florida problem, for the succeeding decade, the signifi-
cant frontier question in our territorial history. During this period
the western boundary of Louisiana played a distinctly inferior part
to the eastern.
In attempting to determine just what they had purchased, Mon-
roe and Livingston found little to guide them aside from Na-
10Cf. Ficklin, J. R., in Pubns. of so. Hist. Assn., V, 383. Robertson,
Louisiana under the Rule of Spain, France, and the United States, 1785-
1807, II, 141, N. 62.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914, periodical, 1914; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101061/m1/15/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.