The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 290
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
war threatened between the two powers over the Louisiana
boundary dispute. The war was averted by the establishment
of the Neutral Ground between Spanish Texas and the terri-
tory of the United States. This arrangement Sibley correctly
predicted would be a source of trouble for the two nations
concerned; and he later advocated its annulment.
Sibley experienced the excitement which seized the Louisiana
frontier when Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Spain in 1808,21'
and when the revolution opened in Mexico in 1810,22 spreading
to Texas by January, 1811.23 During these political upheavals
Sibley observed and played his role. The frontier seethed with
French agents trying to promote Napoleon's scheme of seizing
or revolutionizing the Spanish dominions,2' and with Anglo-
American revolutionists and contraband traders planning inva-
sion of Spanish provinces in the name of liberty and democ-
racy.25 Because of these conditions he urged the Secretary of
War to pursue an active policy on the frontier, as "revolution
would change our prospects in this quarter."'" He followed his
own advice, and kept the Texas Indians between the Sabine,
Red River, and as far west as Matagorda Bay under close sur-
veillance. His policy was to keep the Indians in Spanish Texas
friendly toward the United States, in case they should be needed
as allies in a war with Spain or with Britain, who it was pre-
dicted would use the Spanish provinces as a base for operations
against the United States in the approaching War of 1812.27
He corresponded with Claiborne on the subject of revolution
in the adjoining Spanish provinces. Like him and other frontier
notables, he believed that the revolution "should assume a
21Charles E. Chapman, A History of Spain (New York, 1927), 407-410.
22Herbert I. Priestly, The Mexican Nation, A History (New York, 1923),
23Julia Kathryn Garrett, Green Flag Over Texas (Dallas, 1939), 36-45.
24John Rydford, "Napoleon and the Independence of New Spain," New
Spain and the Anglo-American West (Lancaster, Pa., 1932), I, 291-293.
25W. C. C. Claiborne, Official Letter Books, IV, 284.
26Sibley to Secretary of War Dearborn, September 7, 1808, MS., O.R.W.D.
27William Shaler to Secretary of State James Monroe, Natchitoches, May
7, 1812, MS., Special Agents, William Shaler, 1810, II, MS., Archives of
the State Department, Washington, D. C. This is a volume of mounted
manuscripts consisting of all of William Shaler's correspondence from New
Orleans and Natchitoches to the Secretary of State, Monroe. (Hereafter
cited as Shaler to Monroe, MS., SD.); W. C. C. Claiborne, Official Letter
Books, VI, 37-38.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/324/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.