Correspondence of Governor George W. Campbell-original letters.
Letter from James Monroe.
Washington, April 11th, 1818.Dear Sir,--Mr. Pinkney having obtained his recall from Russia, it becomes necessary to supply his place by an immediate appointment of his successor. The confidence I repose in your abilities and integrity induces me to offer to your acceptance this trust. You will have the goodness to give me as early an answer as in your power. With great respect and esteem, I am, dear sir, sincerely yours,
Letter from Albert Gallatin.
Paris, September 15th, 1819.Dear Sir,--I improve the opportunity of our countryman, Mr. Kade, who goes direct to St. Petersburg, to send you a copy of the Acts of last session, transmitted by the Department of State. Mr. Forsyth has been officially notified that the King of Spain would not ratify our treaty until he had obtained some previous explanations from the government of the United States, for which purpose he intended to send an extraordinary minister to Washington. Mr. Forsyth replied that he was able to give explanations on any point connected with the treaty, and that if it was not ratified within the time prescribed (the 22d of August), it would or might be considered as a nullity by the United States. The Spanish government made a civil answer, but persisted, so that they have in fact refused to ratify. It is understood that the explanations alluded to, relate to two points. The King of Spain had lately made some grants to favorites for immense tracts of land in Florida. As to the treaty, the United States were to pay to their citizens five millions of dollars for Spanish spoilations out of the proceeds of the sales of land in that province; it was insisted on their part that those grants should be annulled. The principle was agreed to, and by one of the articles, all grants subsequent to the----January, 1818, were declared null, under a common understanding that this date embraced all such grants. Subsequent to the ratification of the treaty and prior to Mr. Forsyth's departure from the United States, it was reported that the largest grant, to Duke d'alazon, was dated two months earlier, and Mr. Forsyth was instructed, in exchanging the ratifications, to put  in a declaration that it was the understanding of both parties that that grant should be considered as null. He was bearer of two letters certifying this declaration to be consistent with the intention of the negotiators, one signed by Mr. Onis, the other by Mr. Hyde de Neuville, who, by order of his government, had acted in the negotiation as a common friend, and in the character of an inofficial mediator. The Spanish government was fully apprised of all these circumstances, that Mr. Forsyth was fully instructed on this point, and that our government would not yield it. It was, therefore, unnecessary to send to Washington for explanation in that respect, and if it was their intention to insist on the validity of the grant, they might as well have refused at once to exchange the ratification on the ground that Mr. Forsyth's declaration was inadmissible. That government is also well apprised of the determination of ours not to give the explanation they require on the second point. What they want, is, that the United States should engage not to recognize the independence of any of the Spanish colonies. This had already been proposed and peremptorily refused. Our government cannot and will not enter into any obligation in that respect. It follows that the intended mission will fail, that the treaty is rejected and that Spain must abide by the consequences. What course may be pursued by our government and by Congress is uncertain, and you are as able, at least as myself, to form conjectures on the result. One thing is certain, that the treaty was, in her situation, as advantageous to Spain as she could expect. We paid for the soil of Florida much more than it was worth. The sovereignty was convenient to us and of no use whatever to Spain, Florida being an insulated desert, unconnected with all her other colonies. And we gave in exchange what was of primary importance to her in order to form a barrier between our territory and Mexico. For we had, by the treaty, relinquished our claim to all the country along the Gulf of Mexico, west of the Sabine river; that is to say, to the whole of what the Spaniards called the Province of Texas. And notwithstanding our indubitable right to all the country watered by rivers falling in the Mississippi, we had also agreed that the Red river of the Mississippi should be the boundary, from the meridian of the Sabine river to the 100th degree of longitude west of Greenwich, and that from thence the limit should be due north to the Arkansas, and afterwards up the Arkansas to its source, yielding thereby the whole country south of the Red river, from a very short distance beyond Natchitoches, and a large portion of territory north of the Red river and south of the Arkansas.  I do not believe that Spain will ever again obtain similar terms, and there is but one voice respecting the ignorance and folly which have dictated their late determination. Many persons charge Great Britain with it. She has had, heretofore, no influence over the councils of Spain, and Lord Castlereagh has expressly declared to Mr. Rush, that although England should have preferred that Florida should have remained in the hands of Spain, they not only had not interfered, but foreseeing the consequences of rejection of a treaty actually signed, had advised its ratification. You may have already received all this information from our government, Mr. Forsyth and Mr. Rush, but reflecting on your remote situation, and thinking that a correct knowledge of the facts might enable you to make a proper impression on the Russian government, that that government is not less friendly to Spain than to us, and that it may be important that they should know beforehand the probable consequences of the conduct of Spain, I have thought that this hasty summary might be acceptable. I must add, and you may rely on the fact, that Onis had acted not only in conformity with his instructions, but had yielded less than they authorized him to do; so that there is a positive breach of good faith on the part of Spain, a circumstance which renders a renewal of negotiations still more difficult. I remain, with great respect and sincere attachment, dear sir, Your most obedient servant,
From Commodore McDonough.
United States ship Guerriere, Cromstadt, September 27th, 1818.Sir,--This day being the anniversary of the coronation of the Emperor Alexander, it may be thought that this ship might have paid a compliment to it by salute, but I find the Russian vessels which are draped on the occasion, and which will, in all probability, salute also, have not displayed the flag of the United States among others which they have hoisted; this has determined me not to salute, and I hope my determination in this instance to remain silent is correct. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir, Your obedient servant,