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The Louisiana Treaty.


It is to be observed that the latter part of this you may have the most fatal consequences; and article refers to that convention which stipulates it, as some gentlemen have hinted on former ocfor the payment of money to the French Govern- casions, the French are sick of their bargain, will ment. But who, I ask, could understand it in this give them an opportunity to break it altogether, way? The convention here referred to, is said to or create such jealousies between the two nations be " relative to a definitive rule between the con- as may render the ceded territory and its inhabtracting parties.” Why these dark, obscure, and | itants of little value to us. In my opinion, polunintelligible expressions? Is a consideration a icy, as well as justice, requires, that we should " definitive rule ?" The first article speaks of the comply with the stipulations on our part, promptcession as being made, “ from a desire to give to ly and with good faith, and leave no opening for the United States a strong proof of the friendship complaint with the other party: We shall then of the First Consul," and when you turn to the stand justified in the eyes of the world, and to convention, which is said to establish the “defin- ourselves, not only to take, but keep possession of itive rule,” you find a provision binding the Uni. this immense country, let what nation will opted States to the payment of money to the French pose it. Republic, but not a word is said about its being But the honorable gentleman (Mr. Wells) has the consideration of the cession. Suspicion hangs said that the French have no title, and, having over the whole of this business. If the territory no title herself, we can derive none from her. Is is, beyond all doubt, to be put quietly and peace- not, I ask, the King of Spain's proclamation, deably into our hands, whence the necessity of send- claring the cession of Louisiana to France, and ing down to receive it an imposing force? Admit his orders to his Governor and officers to deliver that a dominal possession of the territory has been it to France, a title ? Do nations give any other ? given by the Spaniards to the French, the latter I believe the honorable gentleman can find no it is well known have not a single soldier at any solitary instance of feofment or conveyance beof the posts. Suppose, upon the arrival of our tween States. The Treaty of St. Ildefonso was troops, the Spanish forces should refuse to obey the groundwork of the cession, and whatever the orders of the French Prefect, who then can might have been the terms to be performed by only give you possession by the twig of a tree or France, the King of Spain's proclamation and the knob of a door; your army left to possess orders have declared to all the world that they itself of the fortifications as it can, is half destroyed were complied with. The honorable gentleman, ere resistance by the Spaniards is overcome. In however, insists that there is no consideration exthat case, shall we be willing to pay the whole pressed in the treaty, and therefore it must be amount of the fifteen millions of dollars? I trust void; if the honorable gentleman will but look not. If however we pass this bill, we shall have attentively at the ninth article, I am persuaded he no control over the subject. We have already will perceive one: the conventions are made part strong reasons for doubting the validity of the of the treaty; they are declared to have execution French title to the territory in question : sup- in the same manner, as if they had been inserted pose our doubts should be confirmed before the in the treaty; they are to be ratified in the same payment of this money, will you then consent to form, and in the same time, so that the one shall pay any part of it for what you will not be able to not be distinct from the other. What inference hold ? 'I conceive, therefore, that I ain fully jus- can possibly be drawn, but that the payments to tified in withholding my assent from the passage be made by them was full consideration for Louof this bill, seeing that no advantage can result isiana ? But the honorable gentleman lays stress from delegating this power to the President; that on that part of the treaty which declares that "the it may be, without inconvenience, exercised by First Consul of the French Republic, desiring to ourselves, as we shall remain for some time in give to the United States a strong proof of his session; that even in common cases the unneces- friendship, doth hereby cede to the United States sary delegation of power is not to be justified; the territory," &c.; inferring from thence that and that, in this particular instance, circumstances our title rests on the friendship of Bonaparte alone. exist of a very extraordinary nature, which render Sir, let my opinion of the present Government of it peculiarly improper.

France be what it may, and I confess it is not Mr. Jackson.-Mr. President: In answering very favorable, Bonaparte, by the consent of the the honorable gentlemen who has just sat down, nation, is placed at its head; he is the organ I shall take the liberty of commencing. with re- through which the will of the nation is expressed, peating what I said yesterday, in answer to ano- and is and must be respected as such by all other iher honorable gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. Powers. No nation has a right to interfere with White) that every argument they have made the rule or police of another. It is enough that use of would better have applied at the time the the nation wills it, and Bonaparte's act is the act treaty was on its passage for ratification, or at the of the whole nation, which cannot recall it, even time of the passage of the bill for taking posses- if Bonaparte should cease to govern, and another sion of Louisiana ; and it appears extraordinary form of Government be adopted. But, sir, adnow, after voting, if not for the treaty, for that mitting the objection of the honorable gentleman, bill, to see those gentlemen rise to oppose the con- in its utmost latitude, as 10 pecuniary consideraditions to be performed on our part, when France tions; are there no other considerations among has issued the necessary orders to comply, on her Powers and Potentates? Does not policy somepart. The delay of the passage of the bill before times induce a cession of territory io prevent a The Louisiana Treaty.


November, 1803.

larger portion from being sacrificed ? Is not the Floridas, to use the language of a late member establishment of a Monarch's connexions some- of Congress, the road to Mexico is now open to times an object and consideration for a cession ? us, which, if Spain acts in an amicable way, I The very instance before us is a convincing proof wish may, and hope will be shut, as respects the -the establishment of the King of Etruria in United States forever. For these reasons, I think, Italy. Honorable gentlemen have, however, when- sir, Spain will avoid a war, in which she has ever the treaty has been the subject of debate, nothing to gain and everything to lose. But what expressed their fears that the Treaty of Ildefonso possession, say the honorable gentlemen, are we has not been complied fully with by France ; that io receive the twig of a tree or the knocker of a Spain will keep possession, and that we shall be door ? No, sir, 1 reply; but possession of New involved in war with that Power. The King of Orleans, the capital, and its defence. By whom, Spain's proclamation fully satisfies me on that will the honorable gentleman ask? I answer, the head, and I hope, and believe, he will be more same men who the honorable gentlemen were so prudent than in existing circumstances to involve anxious to send forward and take forcible posseshimself in war with us. The English nation, sion the last session, which could not have failed after the handsome letter of Lord Hawkesbury to to involve us with the French, for, if we had sucour Minister, Mr. King, expressing the approval ceeded and taken possession, whose territory should of His Britannic Majesty of the treaty, cannot, in we have violated ? Spain was barely the tenant, decency, interfere ; and Bonaparte is bound' in at will, of France, and France the real owner. If, honor and good faith, to protect us in the posses- in private life, I were to enter a house the honorsion of that country; disgrace would cover him able gentleman had purchased, and kick his tenand his nation if he took any part against us. ant out, would he not feel aggrieved and seek reWhom, then, should we have to contend with ? dress ? So would France, if we had rashly taken With the bayonets of the intrepid French grena- the measures proposed, and what should we have diers, as the honorable gentleman from Delaware, had then to do? Fling ourselves at once into the last session, told us, or with the enervated, de-arms of Britain for protection. Is this what hon-, graded, and emaciated Spaniards ? Shall we be orable gentlemen wish? It cannot be. I hope, told now that we are no match for these emaci- Mr. President, that the citizens of the United ated beings? Last session we were impressed States will never see the day when their defence with the necessity of taking immediate possession shall depend on a British army or navy, or the of the island of New Orleans in the face of two army or navy of any other Power on earth. We nations, and now we entertain doubts if we can are happily divided from the distractions and tucombat the weakest of those Poivers; and we are mults of the Eastern world by the Atlantic Ocean, further told we are going to sacrifice the immense and I trust we shall steer clear of entangling allisum of fifteen millions of dollars, and have to go ances with any of them. to war with Spain, for the country, a

Mr. President, the honorable gentleman appears when, last session, war was to take

to be extremely apprehensive of vesting the powevents, and no costs were equal to the o

ers delegated by the bill, now on its passage, in the tlemen seem to be displeased, becau

President, aud wishes to retain it in the Legislaprocured it peaceably, and at probal

ture. Is this a Legislative or an Executive busiless expense than it would have cost

ness? Assuredly, in my mind, of the latter nature. taken forcible possession of New O

The President gave instructions for, and, with our which, I am persuaded, would have

consent, ratified the treaty. We have given him in a war, which would have. saddleu uw the power to take possession, which his officers debt of from one to two hundred millions, and are, perhaps, at this moment doing; and surely, as perhaps have lost New Orleans, and the right of the ostensible party, the representative of the deposit, after

all. I again repeai, sir, that I do not sovereignty to whom France will alone look, he believe that Spain will venture war with the Uni- ought to possess the power of fulfilling our part of ted States. I believe she dare not; if she does, the contract. Gentlemen, indeed, had doubied, on she will pay the costs. The Floridas will be im- a former occasion, the propriety of giving the mediately ours; they will almost take themselves. President the power of taking possession and orThe inhabitants pant for the blessings of your ganizing a temporary government, which every equal and wise Government; they ardently long inferior officer, in case of conquest or cession, from to become a part of the United States. An offi- the general to the subaltern, if commanding, has cer, duly authorized and armed with the bare a right to do; but I little expected these doubts, proclamation of the President, would go near to after we had gone so far. For my part, sir, I have iake them; the inhabitants by hundreds would none of those fears. I believe the President will flock to his standard, the very Spanish force itself be as cautious as ourselves, and the bill is as carewould assist in their reduction ; it is composed fully worded as possible; for the money is not to principally of the Irish brigade and Creoles- be paid until after Louisiana shall be placed in The former disaffected, and the latter the dregs of our possession. mankind. With two or three squadrons of dra- Sir, it has been observed by a gentleman in degoons, and the same number of companies of bate yesterday, (Mr. White,) ihat Louisiana would infantry, not a doubt ought to exist of the total | become a grievance to us, and that we might as conquest of East Florida by an officer of tolerable i well attempt to prevent fish from swimming in talents. Exclusive, however, of the loss of the water, as to prevent our citizens from going across


The Louisiana Treaty.


the Mississippi. The honorable gentleman is not bill, I conceive it all-iinportant that it should pass so well acquainted with the frontier citizens as I without a moment's delay. We have a bargain am. I see an honorable gentleman in my view, now in our power, which, once missed, we never who knows whether or not what I am going to shall have again. Let us close our part of the assert be the fact-he was part of the time high contract by the passage of this bill, let us leave no in office, (Mr. PICKERING.) The citizens of the opportunity for any Power to charge us with a State I represent, scattered along an Indian fron- want of good faith; and having executed our stiptier of from three to four hundred miles, have ulations in good faith we can appeal to God for been restrained, except with one solitary instance, the justice of our cause; and I trust that, confiding by two or three companies of infantry and a hand- in that justice, there is virtue, patriotism, and fúl of dragoons, from crossing over artificial lines courage sufficient in the American nation, not and water-courses, sometimes dry, into the Indian only to take possession of Louisiana, but to keep country, after their own cattle, which no human pru- that possession against the encroachments or atdence could prevent from crossing to a finer and tacks of any Power on earth. more luxuriant range, and this too at a time when Mr. WRIGHT-Mr. President, I presumed from the feelings of Georgians were alive to the injuries the observations of the honorable gentleman from they had received by the New York Treaty with Delaware (Mr. Wells,) that he had not minutely the Creek Indians, which took Tallassee county attended to the provisions of this bill, on which the from them, after even three Commissioners ap- transfer of this stock is made expressly to depend. pointed by the United States had reported to the The treaty has in the most guarded manner secured President that it was bona fide the property of us in the possession of the ceded territory, as a Georgia, and sold under as fair a contract as could condition precedent the payment of the purchase be formed by a civilized with an uncivilized soci- money, and this bill has expressly provided that ety. If the Georgians, under these circumstances

, no part of the stock shall be transferred till the poswere restrained from going on their ground, can-session stipulated by the treaty shall have been obnot means be devised to prevent citizens crossing tained. Not such a possession as the gentlemen into Louisiana ? The frontier people are not the has said the President may be satisfied with—"the people they are represented; they will listen to delivery of a twig and turf

, or the knocker of a reason, and respect the laws of their country ; it door." The treaty has defined the possession incannot be their wish, it is not their interest to go tended, it is the possession of Louisiana, the island to Louisiana, or see it settled for years to come; and city of New Orleans, with the forts and arthe settlement of it at present would part father senals, ihe troops having been withdrawn from and son, brother and brother, and friend and friend, thence. But, sir, from his remarks, it would seem and lessen the value of their lands beyond all cal- that his objections to this bill bad been predicated culation. If Spain acts an amicable part

, I have on his want of confidence in the Executive, as he no doubt myself but the Southern tribes of Indians bas expressed his fears that the stock would be can be persuaded to go there ; it will be advanta- transferred, before the pre-requisite conditions had geous for themselves; they are now hemmed in been performed. He says, we ought to be satisfied on every side; their chance of game decreasing that the possession stipulated by the treaty shall daily ; ploughs and looms, whatever may be said, have been delivered up before we pass this bill. have no charms for them; they want a wider field Has he forgot that, by the Constitution, the Presi. for the chase, and Louisiana presents it. Spain dent is to superintend the execution of the law? may, in such case, discard her fears for her Mex- Or has he forgot that treaties are the supreme law ican dominions, for half a century at least; and of the land ? Or why, while he professes to rewe should fill up the space the Indians removed spect this Constitution, does he oppose the comfrom, with settlers from Europe, and thus pre- mission of the execution of this law to that organ serve the density of population within the original of the Government to which it has been assigned States. For, sir, I will agree with the honorable by the Constitution? Why, I ask, does he distrust gentleman, (Mr. White,) that it will be as impos- the President? Has he not been throughout the sible to prevent fish in the water from swimming, whole of this business very much alive to the as to prevent the distressed of every country from peaceful acquisition of this immense territory, and Aying to this asylum of the oppressed of the human the invaluable waters of the Mississippi ? A proprace. They will come from the ambitious and erty which, but the other day, we were told was distracted States of Europe to our mild and happy all-important, and so necessary to our political exGovernment, if they commit themselves to the istence that if it was not obtained the Western mercy of the ocean, or on a few planks nailed to people would sever themselves from the Union. gether. In a century, sir, we shall be well popu- This property, for which countless millions were lated, and prepared to extend our settlements

, and then proposed to be expended, and the best blood that world of itself will present itself to our ap- of our citizens to be shed, and which then was to proaches, and instead of the description given of be had at all hazards, per fas aut per nefas, seems it by the honorable gentleman, of making it a now to have lost its worth, and it would seem as if howling wilderness, where no civilized foot shall some gentlemen could not be satisfied with the ever tread, if we could return at the proper pe- purchase, because our title was not recorded in the riod we should find it the seat of science and civ- blood of its inhabitants. But that this is not the ilization.

wish of the American people, has been unequivoMr. President, in whatever shape I view this cally declared by their immediate representatives


The Louisiana Treaty.


in Congress, as well as by this House, who had securing them in their property and in their civil each expressed their approbation of the peaceful and religious liberty, agreeably to the principles title we had acquired, by majorities I thought not of our own Constitution? Can they be so unwise to be misunderstood. And the gentleman, although as to prefer being the colonists of a distant Eurohe voted for the ratification of the treaty, now pean Power, to being members of this immense again calls on us to investigate the title. It is cer- Empire, with all the privileges of American cititaiply too late. But I ask, if he was not possessed zens? Can any gentleman seriously entertain of the most satisfactory evidence of the title, why such an unauthorized opinion—that that people, he consented to the ratification of the treaty? whom we have seen so lately, with so much reDoes he not know that France, the original prospect to their late King, submit cheerfully to be prietor, ceded it to Spain ? Does he not know citizens of the French Republic, will now, in direct ihat Spain retroceded it to France, in exchange violation of the royal order, refuse to obey it, and for_Tuscany, which is now held as the kingdom treasonably take up arms to resist its execution ? of Etruria, by the King of Etruria, the relative of It is as cruel as it is unfounded! But should an His Catholic Majesty, by virtue of that exchange? infatuation so treasonable beget in them insurgent Does he not know that Spain disclaims all title to principles of resistance, I hope and trust that our it, and has issued the royal order for delivering it troops on the spot may be permitted to aid the offito France under its original limits, and that that cers of His Catholic Majesty to reduce them to order was lately in the possession of the Minister reason and submission to the royal order of their of the French Republic near the United States ? King; that they may be delivered up to be brought that the treaties had been ratified and exchanged to condign punishment, and that their treasonable for the sale of Louisiana to the United States, and project may be dipped in the bud. that the Minister of the First Consul had concerted I had for myself, however, supposed that from with our Government such measures as were the time of the address of the French Prefect he deemed necessary to put us in possession of the had been in possession of and in the discharge of ceded territory, agreeably to the treaty ? How cor- the civil functions of the government, and that rect, then, it may be to investigate the title after the Spanish troops in the forts held the possession we have ratified the treaty, and become thereby of them to preserve and protect them tillthe French the purchasers, or how prudent to question that troops should arrive under his direction; but I tiile when claiming under it

, are questions the never did suppose that after the First Consul congentleman's own feelings will best decide! But sented to sell ihat country, that he would send over of this I am sure, that we can have no just cause his troops to take possession of it, but to surrender of complaint against the French Republic until it; nor did I ever entertain a single doubt that an eviction under a pre existing title paramount, after the King of Spain had sold that property to which Spain herself disclaims. But if after we France and secured and held the property in exshall be in possession, under this peaceful, this le change of which his royal order for the delivery gitimate tiile, any Power on earih shall attempt of the possession was full proof, that if it was not to disturb our possession, I trust we can obtain in- in his power to induce the Firsi Consul to keep it, junctions from our Secretaries of War and of the that he would commit that integrity hitherto unNavy, and secure our title in the way it was wished sullied, by any measure violative of the faith of by some gentleman to have been originally ob- his cwn treaty. tained. The gentleman tells us he understands Mr. PICKERING said, if he entertained the opinwe are to be opposed by the subjects of His Cath-ion just now expressed by the gentleman from olic Majesty in taking possession of the ceded ter- Delaware, (Mr. Wells) of the binding force of ritory, or why send so many troops to take posses- all treaties made by the President and Senate, he sion ?' I cannot tell where the gentleman got his should think it to be his duty to vote for the bill information, either as to the opposition intended now under consideration. " The Constitution, or the number of truops to be sent. I have never and the laws of the United States made in pursuheard there was to be any opposition, but the re- ance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall verse. I have never heard the number of troops be made under the authority of the United States, that are intended to take possession; but I hope shall be the supreme law of the land.”—But a and trust a number sufficient to preserve the forts treaty to be thus obligatory, must not contravene in good order, and to defend them against any the Constitution, nor contain any stipulations Power that may presume to invest them. This, which transcend the powers therein given to the I have no doubt, will be done, as it is committed to President and Senate. The treaty between the the President, under his high responsibility, aided United States and the French Republic, profesby the heads of the departments to which it be- sing to cede Louisiana to the United States, aplongs, who will be possessed of all necessary in-peared to him to contain such an exceptionable formation, and who will, I trust, do their duty in stipulation—a stipulation which cannot be exepreserving and defending these important posts. cuted by any authority now existing. It is de

Can it be supposed that the Louisianians, who clared in the third article, that “ the inhabitants so lately gave so demonstrative proof of their loy- of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the alty in their answer to the address of the Prefect Union of the United States." But neither the of France, will be less disposed to loyalty to the President and Senate, nor the President and ConUnited States, when they recollect that we have gress, are competent to such an act of incorporatreated them as our children, and ourselves, by I tion.' He believed that our Administration admit

The Louisiana Treaty.

SENATE. ted that this incorporation could not be effected the shoes of France, can have only the same right without an amendment of the Constitution; and relative to the subject in question. We can ask he conceived that this necessary amendment could of Spain an actual cession, or a confirmation of not be made in the ordinary mode by the concur- the claim we have purchased of the French Rerence of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress, public, provided we will and can fulfil the condiand the ratification by the Legislatures of three- tions of the Treaty of St. Ildefonso; and what fourths of the several States. He believed the are these conditions? We cannot tell. Mr. P. assent of each individual State to be necessary believed that our Executive knew not what they for the admission of a foreign country as an asso- were; and he believed, too, that even our Enciate in the Union : in like manner as in a com- voys, who negotiated the treaty for Louisiana, mercial house, the consent of each member would were alike uninformed. He believed that they be necessary to admit a new partner into the com- never saw (for they had not intimated that they pany; and whether the assent of every State to had ever seen). any other part of the Treaty of such an indispensable amendment were attaina- St. Ildefonso, than what is recited in the first artible, was uncertain. But the articles of a treaty cle of our treaty with France; and this defect were necessarily related to each other; the stipu- has not been supplied by any guaranty of the terlation in one article being the consideration for ritory on the part of France. She had not stipuanother. If, therefore, in respect to the Louisiana lated, nor is under any obligation, to procure the Treaty, the United States fail to execute, and assent of Spain, as a confirmation of the cession within a reasonable time, the engagement in the to the United States. third article, (to incorporate that Territory into Such is the nature of our title to Louisiana. the Union,) the French Government will have a We had, indeed, been told of a publication, long right to declare the whole treaty void. We must since made at New Orleans, of the King of Spain's then abandon the country, or go to war to main- orders to his officers there, to deliver possession of tain our possession. But it was to prevent war the province to the French Republic. Mr. P. that the pacific measures of the last winter were would also take the liberty of mentioning what adopted-they were to "lay the foundation for he had heard, and from good authority: that the future peace.”

Prince of Peace, more than a year subsequent to Mr. P. had never doubted the right of the Uni- the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, declared that the ted States to acquire new territory, either by pur- King of Spain (his master) had not ceded Louischase or by conquest, and to govern the territory iana to France. so acquired as a dependent province; and in this Another honorable gentleman has entertained way might Louisiana have become a territory of us with an account of the animating address of the United States, and have received a form of the French Prefect to the inhabitants of Louisgovernment infinitely preferable to that to which iana, the largest portion of whom are French; its inhabitants are now subject.

and of the cordiality with which they received, There was another serious objection to this and echoed, in their answer, the sentiments of the treaty. It purported to contain a cession of Louis- Prefect. But what were the feelings and conduct iana to the United States. The first article had of the Spanish officers on seeing these French often been read and commented upon ; yet he proceedings? Mr. P. had heard from an honorbegged leave to refer to it once more. It was able member in his eye, (Mr. Dayton) that they therein stated, by the third article of the Treaty of sent for the printer, and forbade all further proSt. Ildefonso, made the first of October, 1800, that mulgation of the address and answer, on pain of the King of Spain promised and engaged, on certain his being sent to the dungeon, or to the mines, for conditions, "io cede to the French Republic the life. Thus tenacious was Spain of her right to colony or province of Louisiana, with the same Louisiana, and thus severe in her prohibition of extent that it then had in the hands of Spain and whatever might disparage her title. that it had when France possessed it, and such as But gentlemen rely on the royal order, now in it should be after the treaties subsequently en- the hands of the French agent here, for the delivtered into between Spain and other States.".ery of the possession of Louisiana to the French Now, under this mere conditional promise of Republic. They seem to consider it as full eviSpain, the First Consul (declaring that ihe French dence of the cession of that territory to France; Republic had thereby an incontestable title to the and as supplying all apparent defect of title under country) undertakes to cede Louisiana to the the Treaty of Si. Ildefonso. That order (said Mr. United States; and how does he cede it? “Io P.) is a year old. Before that time France had the same manner as it had been acquired by the concluded a peace with Great Britain ; and whatFrench Republic, in virtue of the above-men-ever the French Government should demand of tioned treaty with Spain.". That is, by that Spain would be given. treaty, France acquired a right to demand an It is likewise supposed that the Spanish officers actual cession of the territory, provided she ful- in Louisiana will not dare to refuse obedience to filled all the conditions on which Spain promised that order; and one gentleman has expressed his to cede. But we know Spain declares that those opinion, in case such refusal should happen, that conditions have not been fully performed ; and, the American troops, whom the President should by her remonstrances, warns ihe United States send thither, would be justified in compelling not to touch Louisiana. Now we, standing (as them to obey. But what if a subsequent royal some gentlemen have expressed themselves) in order had been issued requiring those officers not

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