Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States Page: 10 of 55
This book is part of the collection entitled: From Republic to State: Debates and Documents Relating to the Annexation of Texas, 1836-1856 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the UNT Libraries.
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lU ON THE PROPOSED
vince of Louisiana, with the same extent that it now has in the hands
of Spain, and that it had when France possessed it, and such as
it should be after the treaties subsequently entered into between
Spain and other states. " The treaty of 1803, after reciting the
above description, ceded to the United States in the name of the
French republic, for ever, and in full sovereignty, the said territory,
with all its rights and appurtenances, as fully and in the same
manner as they have been acquired by the French republic, in
virtue of the above mentioned treaty (of St. Ildefonso,) concluded
with his Catholic majesty." (Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. i, p. 399.)
France, Spain and England had alternately held possessions on
the Gulf of Mexico. There had been cessions and retrocessions,
and when Louisiana finally fell into our hands, its boundaries, involving
those of Florida and of Spanish America, were entirely
unsettled. In this state of things, a negotiation was commenced
by Monroe and Pinckney, in Spain, in 1805, under the directions
of Madison and Jefferson, left unconcluded, resumed at Washington
in 1817, by Mr. Adams, under the presidency of Mr. Monroe,
and finally closed by the treaty of 1819.
In this discussion, the eastern as well as the western boundaries
of Louisiana were the subject of controversy. Spain contended
that her possessions of Florida reached to the Iberville,
lakes Maurepas, Pontchartrain, and Borgne; while we, on the
other hand, contended that Louisiana extended to the Perdido.
On the west, a similar difference came into discussion. Spain insisted
that she had a right to claim at least to the Sabine, while
we declared the Rio Norte to be our westen boundary. This controversy
resulted in a compromise.
That our statesmen urged their views with positiveness is true,
as Mr. Walker states it, and it is equally true that the Spanish
ministers were just as positive and peremptory in their judgment
of the matter. The subject is now scarcely worth the trouble,
but if any one will refer to the two letters, one written by Don
Luis De Onis to the Secretary of State, dated 5th January, 1818,
and the reply from Mr. Secretary Adams to Don Luis De Onis,
dated 12th March, 1818, declaring respectively the Spanish and
American pretensions, he will immediately perceive that the matter
was one utterly unsusceptible of any adjustment, except upon
' the basis of compromise. Resting upon the right of conquest by
discovery or occupation, the vaguest principle of the vaguest
branch of jurisprudence, going back to the 16th century, relying
upon uncertain rumor, reports of travellers and narratives of adj
venturers, it is perfectly manifest that the two powers adopted the
only course which common sense could dictate, in regard to a
controversy of this kind, and that abandoning altogether the question
of right, they adopted such a boundary as convenience determined.
It is worthy of remark, too, that during all the time that
this negotiation was open, we did not pretend to make any occupation
of Texas, having, as appears by the President's message of
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Sedgwick, Theodore. Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States, book, January 1, 1844; New-York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2387/m1/10/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .