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Orleans, the 6th Ariose, year 12 of the French republic, and 28th December, A. D. 1803.


By the colonial prefect and commissioner on the part of the French government.


Secretary of the Commission.

Proclamation of Spanish Commissioners.

Don Manuel Salcedo, brigadier in the royal armies, military and political governor of the provinces of Louisiana and West Florida, inspector of the veteran troops and militia of the same, royal vice patron, substitute judge of the general superintendence of post offices, &c.; and Don Sebastian Calvo de la Puerta y O'Farrill, marquis of Casa Calvo, knight of the order of Santiago, brigadier in the royal armies, and colonel of the infantry regiment stationed at Havana; commissioners on the part of his majesty for delivering this province to the French republic.

We make it known to all the vassals of the king, our master, of all classes and conditions whatsoever, that his majesty has resolved to make a retrocession of the province of Louisiana, for the mutual satisfaction of both powers; and continuing to give the same proofs of protection and affection which the inhabitants of this province have always received, he has thought fit to settle, among other things, certain points, which we deem it our duty publicly to make known for the particular government and disposition of all whom it may concern:

1. His majesty, in consideration of the obligations imposed by the treaties, and wishing to avoid the differences which might arise, has been pleased to resolve, that the delivery of the colony and island of New Orleans, which is to be made to General Victor, or other officer lawfully authorized by the government of the French republic, shall be made in the same manner that it was ceded by France to his majesty, by virtue of which the limits of both shores of the river St. Louis or Mississippi shall remain as irrevocably fixed by the seventh article of the definitive treaty of peace, concluded at Paris on the 10th February, 1763; and consequently the settlements from the river Manshack or Iberville, to the line which divides the American territory from the dominions of the king, shall remain in the possession of Spain, and annexed to West Florida.

Extract of a Letter from Don Jose Pizarro, to Mr. Erving, Minister in Spain, dated Palace, August 17, 1817.

"Besides this, posterior to the year 1805, the extraordinary event has occurred of his majesty's having been unexpectedly deprived in the year 1810, during his captivity, of the pacific possession, in which he was, of that part of West Florida which is between the river Iberville, the lakes Maurepas, Pontchartrain, and Bourne, on the one side, and the river Perdido on the other. When the indisputable property of his majesty in the said territory was demonstrated, it was proved that Spain did not acquire it of France in 1763; that she received it of England in 1783, by a solemn treaty; that it was not and could not be comprehended in the "retrocession of Louisiana," made to France in the year 1800; that the government of France "has declared so officially," and in the most solemn manner, as well to Spain as the United States; that the 5th article of the treaty of 1778, between France and the United States, opposes itself expressly to the acquisition of France (though she had attempted it) of said territory from Spain, in 1800; that the royal cedula of his majesty, issued in Barcelona, on the 15th of October, 1802, for the delivery of Louisiana, (which royal cedula was in the hands of the French government before the United States thought of acquiring the colony,) did not contemplate the delivery of territory east of the Mississippi than that of "the island of New Orleans."

To these grounds, which have established, and so establish in the clearest manner, the property of his majesty in the said territory, may be added those of his pacific possession without interruption. The delivery of Louisiana took place without the least idea having occurred to the French commissioners who received it of his majesty, for the purpose of delivering it to the United States, of aspiring to the possession of the territory between the Iberville and the Perdido, Spain continued, in the years following the delivery, exercising over it all her authority, and the United States respected this possession; a certain custom-house regulation of the United States in the year 1804, which seemed to contain some expressions susceptible of an equivocal meaning as to the rights of his majesty in the territory of Mobile, were reclaimed against on the part of the king, and the United States agreed to give a satisfactory and honourable explanation as to the said expressions. Whatever might be then, in that state of things, the pretension of right which might be formed against it, it did not appear to conform to the principle universally acknowledged to enforce that pretension* by means of acts, and in truth it was a painful duty for the faithful ministers of his majesty, on his return from his captivity, to explain to him by what means and circumstances he had been deprived of the peaceful possession of the greater part of West Florida, without war, or any stipulation which could authorize having preceded it.

NOTE.-Vias de hecho is French phraseology, voie de faites.

The king, attributing this extraordinary event to the circumstances, also extraordinary, of the epoch which had intervened, flattered himself that the United States would not defer placing things in the state which they were in at the time he left his dominions, and the invasion of the peninsula by Bonaparte The glory, and even the interests of the United States might equally incline them to this restitution; for a recent and costly experience has made the world see that there are no acquisitions of territory, however extensive, which can compensate the advantages to result from the reputation which those governments acquire who regulate their operations by principles conservatory of order and justice.

With these ideas, the king directed his minister at Washington, that before he entered into the discussions which had remained pending, he should solicit the restoration of affairs, in the state in which they were at the time of his absenting himself. This preliminary step appeared correspondent to the decorum of his majesty, and the United States could not fail to acknowledge it to be so; it being very certain that the delicate honour of the American government would not consent, in a similar case, to enter into other negotiations, finding itself inquieted in the pacific possession of even one mile of its acknowledged territory, without first soliciting and obtaining the due restoration.

Notwithstanding this, and the answer of the secretary of state of 19th January, 1816, is far from containing the satisfaction and restoration which Spain had reason to expect, his majesty, to give unequivocal proofs of his moderation, and of his friendly dispositions towards the United States, without renouncing, as he does in no way renounce, nor will renounce, unless in the case of some compromise, the right of property and possession which he has in the said territory, has judged fit not to insist on his demand for the present, in the hope that this point, though in its nature it ought to be preliminary, may enter into the general arrangement with the others; but your penetration will acknowledge readily, that on this essential point, as in others, the state of the question is not what it was in the year 1805, new occurrences of such importance having taken place since that period."

In the treaty proposed by Don Jose Pizarro, in 1817, with the United States, the following articles are to be inserted as the basis,


"6th. His catholic majesty, master of Florida, East or West, in all the extension in which he received them from England by the treaty of 1783, and which they had in possession of Great Britain before said treaty, will be willing, for his part, to cede them, with the same extension, to the United States of America, in full property and perpetual sovereignty, provided that the United States are equally disposed on their part to cede, in the same form to his catholic majesty, that part of Louisiana, which is situated to the west of the Mississippi, and is the territory which lies between the said river and the well known limit which now separates, and has

separated Louisiana when France possessed it before the year 1764, and even before the death of the king of Spain, Charles II., from the Spanish province called Texas; so that, after these reciprocal cessions are verified, the course of the river Mississippi, from its source to where it discharges into the sea, will be the only limit of the dominions of his catholic majesty, and those of the United States; and though the king could wish, that in the most southern part of said river, where it opens different branches or channels before discharging itself into the sea, the separating line might be continued through the principal channel which passes by New Orleans; yet his majesty, desiring in all that depends on him, to facilitate the arrangement, it may be agreed and stipulated, that the dividing line, in the part where the Mississippi separates itself and flows into different channels, shall be established towards the western part, placing it in the middle of the arm or channel called La Fourche, to where it discharges itself into the sea, all the delta, or ground alluvion, situated on the east of said channel La Fourche, remaining in the power of the United States.

"7th. As by the 8th article of the treaty of Utrecht it is declared that for the future all cessions, sales, or alienations of the Spanish territory in America, shall be null and of no value, Spain herself remaining without powers to make them, and England obliging herself to aid the Spaniards, that the limits of their dominions in America should be established and maintained as they were before the decease of King Charles II.; and as the part of the Floridas situated on the east of the river Perdido was a Spanish possession at the time of the decease of the said King Charles II., and, therefore, is comprehended in the said 8th article of the treaty of Utrecht, it is not in the power of his catholic majesty to effectuate, by himself, the cession mentioned in the preceding article, without the previous consent and agreement of the power or powers interested in the fulfilment of the said treaty of Utrecht, for which reason it will be indispensable, in case that the United States shall accede to the proposed arrangement, to solicit and obtain the said consent of the power or powers interested, and the derogation, and for this sole purpose of the said article of the treaty of Utrecht, which, in all other respects, shall hereafter remain in full force."



List of Papers translated by Robert Greenhow, translator of foreign languages to the Department of State of the United States, for the honourable J. M. White, of Florida.

A. Letter from Don A. Calderon de la Barca, minister of Spain in the United States, to the honourable J. M. White, dated March 10, 1836.

B. Preliminary convention of November 3, 1762, between France and Spain, for the surrender of Louisiana to the latter.

C. Acceptance of the cession of Louisiana by the king of Spain, November 13, 1762.

D. Definitive act of cession of Louisiana by France to Spain, November 23, 1762.

E. The 6th article of the preliminary convention of Fontainebleu, of November 3, 1762; identical with

F. The 7th article of the treaty of peace and friendship between Spain and France, signed at Paris, February 10, 1763.

G. Note from the Duke de Choiseul, prime minister of France, to the Spanish ambassador at Paris, accompanying

H. Order from the king of France to the governor of Louisiana to deliver that province to Spain, April 21, 1764.

I. The 2d article of the treaty between Spain and the United States, signed at San Lorenzo el Real, October 27, 1795.

K. Preliminary and secret treaty of October 1, 1800, between France and Spain, for the enlargement of the territories of the Duke of Parma, and the restoration of Louisiana to France.

L. Treaty of Aranjuez, for the enlargement of the dominions of the Duke of Parma, or rather for his elevation to the throne of Tuscany, and the restoration of Louisiana to France, signed March

21, 1801.

M. Letter from the secretary of state of Spain to Mr. C. Pinckney, minister of the United States at Madrid, refusing to sell Florida, or to admit an American commercial agent at New Orleans, April 7, 1802.

N. Letter from Charles Pinckney, minister of the United States in Spain, to the secretary of state of Spain, respecting the conduct

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