The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 388
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
credentials until December, 1815. Actually it was not until late
in 1817, after John Quincy Adams assumed his duties as Presi-
dent Monroe's Secretary of State, that any real progress was
made toward a treaty. Notwithstanding the numerous other
questions in controversy, Adams and Onis made the definition
of a boundary line between the United States and Spanish
North America a sine qua non for a settlement. Despite the
temporary suspension and transfer of negotiations to Madrid,
Adams and Onis stuck tenaciously to their task until they
reached an agreement.
The Spanish foreign ministry, by successive instructions,
authorized Onis to propose various lines from the Mississippi
to the Sabine as the western limits of the United States, but
Adams insisted upon the Colorado River flowing into Mata-
gorda Bay as the minimum western delimitation. Onis resorted
to subterfuge in contending that the only Colorado the Span-
iards knew was the Red River passing by Natchitoches, Louisi-
ana. When news of Jackson's invasion of Florida reached the
capital in July, 1818, only Adams among the Washington offi-
cials defended Jackson, in order "to bolster his diplomatic
strategy." Uneasy lest the United States occupy other Spanish
territory, Onis expedited his discussions with Adams. At these
conferences Adams first mentioned extending the boundary line
to the Pacific Ocean.
In January, 1819, Onis received instructions to agree first
to the Colorado if necessary to avoid a rupture in the negotia-
tions, and second, to grant the extension to the Pacific. But
Onis offered only the Sabine as the western limit; then north
and west to the Pacific, however, the proposed line followed
approximately the course finally agreed upon. Adams regretted
giving up Texas, but he considered that concession requisite
for an agreement, since Onis concealed his instructions to yield
to the Colorado. Furthermore, Adams was securing a major
point in his demands-the first title by treaty of the United
States to land on the Pacific.
Adams and Onis, fearing that opposition to the provisions
of the treaty whereby Spain would retain Texas might jeop-
ardize the whole arrangement, then hastened to reach an ac-
cord. Two days after they signed the treaty on February 22,
1819, the United States Senate ratified it unanimously. The
treaty provided that ratifications should be exchanged within
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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/m1/430/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.