The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 32
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Before closing Wilkinson emphasized once more the necessity of
getting possession of the right bank of the Mississippi. If neces-
sary, Spain should add to the offer of the Floridas a "sum of
money which may be convenient to attract the attention of the peo-
ple and tempt the government of the United States." Spain should
even offer to extinguish the existing national debt of some sixty
millions. If the Americans were still obdurate the Spaniards
should offer a. line of demarcation as near as possible to the west-
ern bank of the great river, running so as "to cut off the mouth of
the Missouri." If necessary the United States might be permitted
to control the Fourche mouth of the Mississippi, to prevent contra-
band trade, while Spain should establish a, port at the Teche. In
carrying on this most important negotiation the Spanish minister
should secure the aid of Americans who were influential with their
own government so as to direct its course "as most convenient to
the interests of the crown of His Majesty."
It is difficult to find language properly to characterize this pro-
posal. Its blackness may be heightened by suggesting that Wilk-
inson was probably as ready to betray the Spaniards as the Amer-
icans. For the present, however, Folch listened to a part of his
proposals, but objected to the cession of the Floridas. He felt that
Spain should preserve them and secure as well the right bank of
the Mississippi. One would protect Cuba, and the other Mexico,
but both were necessary for complete defense of the royal domin-
ions. The limits between the two countries must be marked by
a natural barrier like the Mississippi (although we should hardly
term the river such), consequently the Americans should retain
no territory on its western bank. He considered the proposal to
extinguish the national debt of the United States in return for this
territory as "political heresy." At the utmost Spain should give
only the eleven millions the Americans had paid for Louisiana,
with the use or possession of New Orleans, adding, if necessary,
that part of West Florida between the Pearl and the Mississippi.
This would appeal to the parsimony of those Americans who
dreaded a war costing far more than this sum, and would likewise
show the interest of Spain in preserving peace. With these com-
ments he transmitted Wilkinson's proposal to his superior and rec-
ommended the author to royal consideration.
The rumor that the Americans would revive the French claim to
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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/m1/36/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.