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that it had when Spain possessed it, and such as it should be after the treaties subsequently entered into between Spain and other States." Immediately after this transfer became known, on November 30, 1802, measures were set on foot by President Jefferson for securing in some way free access to the sea by way of the Mississippi River. Circumstances favored this negotiation. Bonaparte was at that time in almost daily expectation of a declaration of war by Great Britain, in which case the first act of the latter would be to seize the mouth of the Mississippi, and with it the province of Louisiana. Under these circumstances Bonaparte offered to sell the province to the United States, and the offer was promptly accepted. The consideration was 60,000,000 francs and the assumption by the United States of the "French spoliation claims," which were estimated to amount to $3,750,000.

The treaty of cession, which bears date April 30, 1803, describes the territory only as being the same as ceded by Spain to France by the treaty of San Ildefonso.

From this it appears that the territory sold to the United States comprised that part of the drainage basin of the Mississippi which lies west of the course of the river, with the exception of such parts as were then held by Spain. The wånt of precise definition of limits in the treaty was not objected to by the American commissioners, as they probably foresaw that this very indefiniteness might prove of service to the United States in future negotiations with other powers. In fact, the claim of the United States to the area now comprised in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho in the negotiations with Great Britain regarding the northwestern boundary was ostensibly based not only upon prior occupation and upon purchase from Spain, but also upon the alleged fact that this area formed part of the Louisiana purchase. That this claim was baseless is shown not only by what has been already detailed regarding the limits of the purchase, but also by the direct testimony of the French plenipotentiary, M. Barbé Marbois. Some twenty years after the purchase he published a work upon Louisiana, in which he detailed at some length the negotiations which preceded the purchase, and, referring to this question, said: "The shores of the western ocean were certainly not comprised in the cession, but already the United States are established there."

There is also contained in this work a map of the country between the Mississippi and the Pacific, on which the extent of Louisiana to the westward is indicated by a line drawn on the one hundred and tenth meridian, which is not far from the western limit of the drainage basin of the Mississippi in Wyoming and Montana. That part of the country now comprised in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, which, it has been claimed, formed part of the purchase, bears the following legend: "Territories and countries occupied by the United States, following the treaty of cession of Louisiana.”

From this it appears that the northwestern limits of the Louisiana. purchase can no longer be a matter of discussion; but although the United States certainly did not purchase Oregon as a part of Louisiana, it is no less certain that that great area west of the Rocky Mountains fell into their hands as a direct consequence of such purchase.


The second addition to the territory of the United States consisted of the Floridas, purchased from Spain on February 22, 1819. From the date of the Louisiana purchase, in 1803, the territory bounded by the Mississippi River on the west, the Perdido on the east, the parallel of 31° on the north, and the Gulf on the south had been in dispute between the two countries. During a part of this time it had been practically in the possession of the United States.

The clause quoted above from the treaty of San Ildefonso was interpreted by Jefferson and others in this country to mean the inclusion of West Florida. Their reasoning was this: In 1800 Spain owned West Florida; West Florida was once a part of Louisiana; in 1800 Spain receded Louisiana to France; she therefore receded West Florida with it.

Spain, however, held that this was merely a treaty of recession, by which she gave back to France what France had given to her in 1762. Since in 1762 she did not own West Florida, she could not, therefore, have receded it to France.

As to this matter, Marbois, the French plenipotentiary, was very positive in stating that West Florida formed no part of the Louisiana purchase, and that the southeastern boundary of the latter was the river Iberville and Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain.

Immediately after the Louisiana purchase the claim was made by the United States that it included most of West Florida, and also a part of the Texas coast, but this was not entertained by Spain. In 1810 a revolution was effected in that part of West Florida lying west of Pearl River, and application was made for annexation to the United States. The governor of Louisiana, under instructions from Washington, at once took possession, but immediately a counter revolution was organized against him, which was put down by force of arms, and in 1812 this part of West Florida was annexed to the State of Louisiana. Meantime, the insurrection spread eastward in West Florida, and, although put down by Spanish authorities, the movement received the sympathy of the United States, which passed a secret act authorizing the President, under certain specified contingencies, to use force in taking possession of the Floridas. In 1812 that portion of West Florida lying between Perdido and Pearl rivers was annexed to the Territory of Mississippi.

This purchase settled these conflicting claims.

The following is the clause in the treaty with Spain ceding the Floridas which defines the cession:

ART. 2. His Catholic Majesty cedes to the United States, in full property and sovereignty, all the territories which belong to him, situated to the eastward of the Mississippi, known by the name of East and West Florida, the adjacent islands dependent upon said province, etc.

A further article in this treaty defines the boundary between the United States and the Spanish possessions in the Southwest as follows: The boundary line between the two countries, west of the Mississippi, shall begin on the Gulf of Mexico, at the mouth of the river Sabine, in the sea, continuing north, along the western bank of that river, to the thirty-second degree of latitude, thence by a line due north to the degree of latitude where it strikes the Rio Roxo of Nachitoches, or Red River; then following the course of the Rio Roxo to the degree of longitude 100 west from London, or about 23° west of Washington; then crossing the said Rio Roxo and running thence, by a line due north, to the river Arkansas; thence, following the course of the southern bank of the Arkansas, to its source in latitude 42 north; and thence by that parallel of latitude to the South Sea, the whole being as laid down in Melish's map of the United States, published at Philadelphia, improved to the 1st of January, 1818. But if the source of the Arkansas River shall be found to fall north or south of latitude 42, then the line shall run from the said source due south or north, as the case may be, till it meets the said parallel of latitude 42, and thence along the said parallel to the South Sea, all the islands in the Sabine and the said Red and Arkansas rivers, throughout the course thus described, to belong to the United States; but the use of the waters, and the navigation of the Sabine to the sea, and of the said rivers Roxo and Arkansas throughout the extent of the said boundary on their respective banks shall be common to the respective inhabitants of both nations.


The next acquisition of territory was that of the Republic of Texas, which was admitted as a State on December 29, 1845. The area which Texas brought into the Union was limited as follows, as defined by the Republic of Texas, December 19, 1836:

Beginning at the mouth of the Sabine River and running west along the Gulf of Mexico three leagues from land to the mouth of the Rio Grande, thence up the principal stream of that river to its source, thence due north to the forty-second degree of north latitude, thence along the boundary line as defined in the treaty between Spain and the United States to the beginning.


In 1848 a further addition was made to our territory by the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. This added to the country the area of California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, while the Gadsden purchase, which was effected in 1853, added the remainder of Arizona and another part of New Mexico.

The treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was concluded February 2, 1848, and proclaimed July 4, 1848. The clauses in it defining our acquisition of territory are as follows:

ARTICLE V. The boundary line between the two Republics shall commence in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, Bull. 226-04


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