Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/23

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6
Ch. 1.
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.
"The extent of Louisiana," he said, "is well determined on the south by the Gulf of Mexico. But bounded on the west by the river called Rio Bravo from its mouth to about the 30° parallel, the line of demarcation stops after reaching this point, and there seems never to have been any agreement in regard to this part of the frontier. The farther we go northward, the more undecided is the boundary. This part of America contains little more than uninhabited forests or Indian tribes, and the necessity of fixing a boundary has never yet been felt there. There also exists none between Louisiana and Canada."

In this state of things the captain-general would have to relieve the most remote Spanish garrisons, in order to establish possession; in other respects he would be guided only by political and military interests. The western and northern boundary was of less consequence than the little strip which separated New Orleans from Mobile; and to this point the instructions specially called Victor's attention. Quoting the treaty of 1763 between Spain, Great Britain, and France, when Florida was to become a British possession, Decrès fixed its terms as still binding upon all the interested parties.

"'It is agreed,'" said the seventh article of this treaty, "'that in future the boundaries between the States of his Most Christian Majesty and those of his Britannic Majesty shall be irrevocably fixed by a line drawn down the middle of the Mississippi River from its source to the River Iberville, and from there by a line down the middle