The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 17
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The Louisiana-Texas Frontier
the M]ississippi.24 Madison sent these instructions to Monroe and
Charles Pinckney, but did not absolutely preclude them from
ceding to the Sabine as the ultimate limit of the neutral strip. A
few months later he even sanctioned the abandonment of any pre-
tentions of the United States to a claim beyond the Colorado, the
Red, and the watershed of the Mississippi basin, in order to facili-
tate our claims to the Perdido and the purchase of the territory be-
yond.2' Thus Texas was to be sacrificed to West Florida, and
this sacrifice might ultimately include all territory west of the
The American interest in the boundaries of Louisiana seemed
largely of an academic kind-a scientific desire to establish logical
boundaries rather than an overwhelming passion to raise a barrier
against an unwelcome neighbor. Spain's interest in the question
surpassed that of the United States; her records relating to that
province and its neighbors were more voluminous. But her offi-
cials, especially her minister at Philadelphia, the Marques de Casa
Yrujo, frankly confessed their ignorance of the disputed border
region and emphasized the necessity of obtaining more definite in-
formation concerning it. Casa Yrujo even applied to General
James Wilkinson to assist him in this matter.20 In this connec-
tion his despatch of November 5, 1803, enclosing the translation
of a pamphlet published under the nom de plume "Silvestris"
(which he perhaps ill-advisedly attributes to Madison) is of some
interest in the boundary dispute.27 The pamphlet definitely claims
the Rio Grande as the western limit of Louisiana and also the
chain of mountains in which that river and the Missouri rise.
Casa Yrujo does not specifically dispute the claim. His silence is
curious but not conclusive, for it may indicate his uncertainty
rather than his willingness to permit the statement to remain un-
challenged. The Spanish minister also regarded the vast extent
of Louisiana as a weakness to the United States, provided Spain
retained possession of both the Floridas.
24Am. State Papers, For. Rel., II, 630. Ford, Writings of Jefferson,
2"Am. State Papers, For. Rel., II, 632.
2BCasa Yrujo to Cevallos, February 7, 1805. Adams Transcripts, Bureau
of Rolls and Library, .State Department. Robertson, No. 5021.
2'This is Casa Yrujo's Dispatch No. 380 and is No. 4927 in Robertson's
list. The pamphlet itself is No. 4887. The fact that its author makes no
claim to West Florida favors the conclusion that he was not Madison.
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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/m1/21/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.