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within land, and the rivers which fall directly or indirectly into that part of the river St. Louis.
“ The Articles.-1. Our pleasure is, that all the aforesaid lands, countries, streams, rivers, and islands þe, and remain comprised under the name of the government of Louisiana, which shall be dependent upon the general government of New France, to which
it is subordinate: and further, that all the lands which we possess from the Illinois, be united, &c. to the general government of New France, and become part thereof, &c.”
According to this document, in describing the province, or colony of Louisiana, it is declared to be bounded by Carolina on the east, and Old and New-Mexico on the west. Under this high recorded evidence, it might be insisted that we have a fair claim to East as well as West Florida, against France at least, unless she has by some Convention, or other obligatory act, restricted the eastern limit of the province. It has, indeed, been asserted that by a treaty between France and Spain, concluded in the year 1719, the Perdido was expressly stipulated to be the boundary between their respective provinces of Florida on the east, and Louisiana on the west; but as I have been unable to find any such treaty, I am induced to doubt its existence.
About the same period, to wit: towards the close of the seventeenth century, when France settled the Isle Dauphine and the Mobile, Spain erected a fort at Pensacola. But Spain never pushed her actual settlements or conquests farther west than the bay of Pensacola, whilst those of the French were bounded on the east by the Mobile. Between these two points, a space of about thirteen or fourteen leagues, neither nation had the exclusive possession. The Rio Perdido, forming the bay of the same name, discharges itself into the Gulf of Mexico, between the Mobile and Pensacola, and, being a natural and the most notorious object between them, presented itself as a suitable boundary between the possessions of the two nations. It accordingly appears very early to have been adopted as the boundary by tacit, if not expressed, consent.
The ancient historians, therefore, of the country, so represent it. Dupratz, one of the most accurate historians of the time, in point of fact and detail, whose work was published as early as 1758, describes the coast as being bounded on the east by the Rio Perdido. In truth, sir, no European nation whatever, except France, ever occupied any portion of West Florida, prior to her cession of it to England in 1762. The gentlemen on the other side do not, indeed, strongly controvert, if they do not expressly admit, that Louisiana, as held by the French
anterior to her cessions of it in 1762, extended to the Perdido. The only observation made by the gentleman from Delaware to the contrary, to wit, that the Island of New Orleans being particularly mentioned, could not, for that reason, constitute a part of Louisiana, is susceptible of a very satisfactory answer. That island was excepted out of the grant to England, and was the only part of the province east of the river that was so excepted. It formed in itself one of the most prominent and important objects of the cession to Spain originally, and was transferred to her with the portion of the province west of the Mississippi. It might with equal propriety be urged that St. Augustine is not in East Florida, because St. Augustine is expressly mentioned by Spain in her cession of that province to England. From this view of the subject, I think it results that the province of Louisiana comprised West Florida previous to the
What was done with it at this epoch ? By a secret Convention, of the 3d of November of that year, France ceded the country lying west of the Mississippi, and the Island of New Orleans, to Spain; and by a contemporaneous act, the articles preliminary to the definitive treaty of 1763, she transferred West Florida to England. Thus, at the same instant of time, she alienated the whole province. Posterior to this grant, Great Britain having also acquired from Spain her possessions east of the Mississippi, erected the country into two provinces, East and West Florida. In this state of things it continued until the peaca of 1783, when Great Britain, in consequence of the events of the war, surrendered the country to Spain, who for the first time came into actual possession of West Florida. Well, sir, how does she dispose of it? She re-annexes it to the residue of Louisiana-extends the jurisdiction of that government to it, and subjects the Governors, or Commandants, of the district of Baton Rouge, Feliciana, Mobile, and Pensacola, to the authority of the Governor of Louisiana, residing at New Orleans; while the Governor of East Florida is placed wholly without his control, and is made amenable directly to the Governor of the Havana. Indeed, sir, I have been credibly informed that all the concessions, or grants of land, made in West Florida, under the authority of Spain, run in the name of the Government of Louisiana. You cannot have forgotten that, about the period when we took possession of New Orleans, under the Treaty of cession from France, the whole country resounded with the nefarious speculations which
In all his public life Mr. CLAY has evinced a firm reliance upon great and enduring principles; and in this, perhaps, may be found one chief secret of his power and foresight. A fundamental truth is always stronger than any man; and by building faith and firm reliance upon it the man shall receive a portion of its strength, and see, through the mists of the hour, the future to which it leads. The confidence of Mr. Clay in the leading political principles which have formed the rule of all his long public life, has sprung from a firm faith in their permanent truth, and not from that blind devotion to a rule, merely because it is abstract, which belongs, sometimes, to men who have something of greatness in them, but who lack the essential wisdom to profit by experience. Though firm in maintaining the rights of each portion of the State, he never allows a passionate and blind defence of them to plunge the whole into disaster and ruin. He feels that the principles on which our government is based, have a high worth-not only of themselves, but for the sake of the superstructure of happiness and glory we have erected upon them; and the safety of this he is not willing to peril in their fruitless defence. He has none of the zeal of that ignorant worshiper who dug beneath the ruins of the Ephesian temple for the fuel on which it rested, to feed the flame upon its altars. Though he has ever proved himself a zealous defender of the rights of man, in all countries and conditions, he never seeks the destruction of established order, regardless of the happiness of those most nearly concerned ; nor even in the assertion of Right would he deem it well to trample, with ruthless violence, upon all the institutions which might stand in his way, and rush headlong to the end, like the cannon ball,
“Shattering that it may reach, and shattering what it reaches.".
His democratic principles, therefore, ardent and spontaneous as they are, are tempered by a deep reverence for the permanent reason of the State, and a profound regard for the well-being of his fellows. All his aspirations are to build up, not to tear down-to create, not to destroy. All the safeguards, then, which the sound wisdom of the people, triumphing and establishing a law over that of transient impulse, has thrown about individual rights, he reverences, and, so long as they seem to be needed, seeks to preserve. Like SCHILLER's Wallenstein, while he knows that the flight of destruction is straight and swift, he feels that,
Mr. Clay has always been the proud champion of that political party which maintains the true purpose of civil government to be, not merely the prevention of Wrong, but the establishment of Right,--not merely to define and punish offences, but to confer blessings and secure the highest good to those who live beneath its benignant sway. His public life has been consecrated to the development of this great principle; and if his efforts seem not yet to have been attended with full success, they have been oftentimes of saving service to the country; and the eye of Hope sees in them the germ of a power which shall yet work itself free from all crushing calamity, and accomplish the great end for which it was first put forth. He is one of those great men whose influence, even
• COLERIDAY'. Translation.
when unseen and despised, is potent and controlling. The spirit of his life has wrought even more than his active efforts; and, far more than any other statesman among us, he has thus given strength to those principles of public policy which alone conduct nations to the height of prosperity. The value of his public services can only be worthily set forth when candor shall have made a faithful record of his life and his acts: and just in proportion as that record is incomplete, will this great friend of mankind be defrauded of honor. It were rash and unwise to ask that his own age should rightly esteem and fully reward them. But, as in the old religion the lightning made sacred the object upon which it fell, so even now does Death hallow the victim whom he strikes, Future generations will not lose sight of his worth : those words of wisdom which, uttered by his living voice, fall 100 unheeded upon our hearts, shall come from his tomb with power as from a holy place : for “ such is the power of dispensing blessings, which Providence has attached to the truly great and good, that they cannot even die without advantage to their fellow creatures; for death consecrates their example; and the wisdom, which might have been slighted at the council-table, becomes oracular from the shrine."
BID Or TU MEMOIR OF HENRY CLAY.