The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 13
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The Louisiana-Texas Frontier
disadvantage in comparison with the documentary store houses
possessed by Spain, and this fact determined Jefferson to explore
thoroughly his new acquisition. At the same time he attempted
other sources of information, including the eminent scientist Hum-
boldt, then visiting the United States. In his letter to the latter
Jefferson states that Spain claims to the Mexicana with a line
running from its source to the Red, while the United States
claims to the Bravo, and he asks the scientist to state the popula-
tion between these rivers. The English minister, Merry, writes
that the Spaniards regard Louisiana as including only a "confined
tract" west of the Mississippi and extending only as far north as
the Missouri, while the Americans claimed westward to Santa F6
and northward to the source of the Mississippi. The adjustment,
as in the case of the Florida disputes, would cause some difficulty."
There were then few public men in the United States who, were
prepared to discuss Louisiana boundaries with the president.
Among those outside of Congress the most important was Rufus
King, who had just returned from the mission to England, and he
seemed to favor the "Bravo" as the western limit. In 1801, he
had so expressed himself to Lord Hawkesbury, and in August fol-
lowing the purchase, he gave Gallatin to understand that his posi-
tion was still unchanged. If we may judge from the attitude of
his close friend, Timothy Pickering, he later held the opposite
view, but possibly the rejection of the article, in his Convention of
May 12, 1803, which related to the Northwestern limit of the
United States, may account for the attitude of both men.'"
The House debate over the Louisiana Treaty gave the oppor-
tunity for a congressional interpretation of the metes and bounds
of our new acquisition. Because of the great uncertainty upon
these points some hesitated to approve appropriations to carry out
the convention. Mitchell of Georgia, however, voiced the general
sentiment that they should accept the province with such boundaries
as it was generally understood to possess, and then, after necessary
exploration, appoint diplomatic commissioners to settle these lim-
"Memorial Edition of Jefferson's Works, XI, 27; Merry to Hawkesbury,
January 16, 1804. Foreign Office, America, II, 5-41, Public Record Office.
1"Cf. King, Correspondence and Papers of Refus King, IV, 329-332, 363,
554, 555. Pickering was especially bitter in criticizing Jefferson for em-
phasizing Crozat's Grant--a mere commercial concession. See Jefferson
Papers, Ser. 2, Vol. 66, No. 36.
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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/m1/17/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.