The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 333
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Book Reviews and Notices
titles the dissertation to an important place in the literature of
the subject. As a result the whole question is more fully com-
prehended, additional light has been thrown upon established
facts and new conclusions have been drawn.
Much of this scholarly and well written monograph is con-
cerned with the great and perplexing problem which confronted
the French minister, Vergennes, of reconciling the widely con-
flicting interests of his allies, Spain and the United States.
French foreign policy after 1763 was dominated by the one grand
aim of humiliating England. The revolt of the English colonies
was France's opportunity and the common object of American
independence made easy the conclusion of a Franco-American
alliance. France wanted no territory; she desired merely to dis-
rupt England's empire and to assist in the creation of a new
power bound to her as an ally against the strength and prestige
of her rival. A Franco-Spanish alliance was a matter of diffi-
culty. Vergennes insisted upon the recognition of American in-
dependence; Spain, among other reasons of hostility to the revolt-
ing English colonies, feared the rise of a new power to contest
her control in the West. The crux of the situation was the con-
flicting claims of Spain and the United States to the West, for
the control of the Mississippi River and its eastern bank was a
matter of vital concern to both. Here was a dilemma for Ver-
gennes. Against Spain he insisted on the recognition of Ameri-
can independence, and against the United States he denied the
validity of their claims by charter to the West. Vergennes stood
steadily for American independence and the guarantee of the
boundaries to the United States as he conceived them, but Canada
and the West were not of them. He would do nothing to help
the United States to gain the West nor oppose any attempts to
conquer the region. His attitude was interpreted as unfriendly.
The vigorous meddling of the French agents in Congress on be-
half of Spanish interests, unwarranted by the instructions from
Vergennes, created an anti-Gallican party distrustful of French
policy. As a result Jay and Adams were selected as commis-
sioners who carried into the final negotiations suspicions of Ver-
gennes. As the author shows with a wealth of evidence, Ver-
gennes was perforce entangled in a policy bound to create adverse
feeling, but he was not guilty of duplicity, made no promises he
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/339/: accessed June 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.