The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 12
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
poleon's cynical declaration that if no obscurity already existed in
the treaty, it would perhaps be good policy to. put one in; or
Talleyrand's more tempting suggestion that the Americans had a
good bargain and would doubtless make the best of it. Barbe-
Marbois seems to have been more complaisant, for he evasively
hinted at the West Florida claim and suggested the possibility of
extension to the Pacific, even without the color of a claim. At any
rate, Livingston started the fantastic interpretation of the treaty
under which we laid claim to West Florida, while Monroe empha-
sized the possibility of exchanging Texas (although he did not
know the country in dispute under that name) for the rest of the
Floridas. Neither Madison nor Jefferson was willing to, agree to
so extensive a concession to Spain, even though Claiborne and other
frontier authorities favored the relinquishment of all territory
west of the Sabine.*" The first duty of our government, however,
was to make sure of our new acquisition and to defend ourselves
from the charge of complicity in Napoleon's faithlessness, and to
this end all the efforts of our officials at Washington, New Orleans,
London, Paris, and Madrid, were for some months directed.
While Jefferson and his subordinates were thus giving the widest
latitude to claims to Louisiana, it is hardly likely that he received
with favor the meagre information that his frontier correspondents
were able to furnish. This was opposed to his interpretation of
these claims, and to that of Livingston and Monroe, which the
administration had by this time completely adopted. It is not
surprising, therefore, that in the printed report upon Louisiana,
dated November 14, 1803, he said almost nothing about boundaries
or allied topics.12 Whatever may have been his intention, he
probably realized the force of Clark's suggestion that this boundary
question was diplomatic rather than geographical in character, and
a. fair matter for compromise, as he himself afterwards suggested
to Dunbar.'1 In this negotiation the United States would be at a
tmCf. Hamilton, Writings of Monroe, IV, 24-26; Am. State Paps. For.
Rel., II, 627; and Claiborne Correspondence, MSS., Bureau of Rolls and
Library. (See Parker, Nos. 6919, 6998, and 7006.)
"Annals 8th Cong., 2d Hess., 1498 ff. He may have intended at first
to assert the Bravo .claim, for a side note to this effect is crossed out
in the manuscript summary of the letters of Clark, Dunbar et al. in the
Claiborne Correspondence, Vol. I, MSS., Bureau of Rolls and Library.
Casa Yrujo's vigorous protests against the validity of the Purchase, or
the fear of complications with the French minister may have deterred him.
13Washington, H. A., Works of Jefferson, IV, 530.
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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/m1/16/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.