National Geographic : 1901 Oct
374 THE NATIONAL GE tion failed, however, to enable the con ference to determine the dispute about the territory between the Mississippi and Perdido Rivers, claimed alike by Spain and France, and afterwards by the United States, and finally released by Spain in the Treaty of 1819, in lan guage assigning no limits to West Flor ida. The conference concluded that the boundary line of this territory at the Mississippi River, as claimed by Spain, should be so defined by a legend on the map, and that the boundary line at the Perdido River, as claimed by the United States, should be similarly indicated. This conclusion was reached with an understanding or admission of the fol lowing facts touching the territory be tween the two rivers claimed by Spain as a part of West Florida : That the ter ritory of Louisiana, as described by France and granted to Crozat by Louis XIV, extended on the east to the River Mobile, which, with the port, was ceded specifically by France to England by the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Spain at the same time ceding the Floridas to Great Britain, with St. Augustine and the bay of Pensacola-thus, inferentially at least, determining the respective boundaries of Louisiana and West Florida; that the first occupation of the interior of the ter ritory between the Rivers Mississippi and Perdido by the Spaniards was dur ing the war of the American Revolution, when it belonged to Great Britain ; that Great Britain retroceded the Floridas to Spain in 1783, at which time the Louis iana territory belonged to Spain by the French cession in the preliminaries of peace of 1762 (confirmed in 1763), whereby " all the country known under the nameof Louisiana" was transferred; that Spain in 1800 retroceded Louisiana to France as it was received from France in 1763; that France in 1803 ceded the territory of Louisiana to the United States, as discovered and held by France, ceded to Spain, and retroceded to France ; and, finally, that in 1819 Spain ceded to GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE the United States all the territory held or claimed by His Catholic Majesty under the names of East and West Florida. In addition to the grounds of dispute be tween France and Spain, and the United States and Spain, here shown, there was a conflicting claim concerning the extent of West Florida, born of the contention between French and Spanish discoverers and settlers in the sixteenth and seven teenth centuries ; and there was also the claim of the French, by right of La Salle's descent of the Mississippi in 1682, to "all the country drained by that river." With reference to the Louisiana boundary, there remained but one point of difference between the maps under consideration. Article II of the defini tive Treaty of Peace of 1783 between the United States and Great Britain, after defining the northern boundary to the Lake of the Woods, continues as follows : " . . Thence through the said lake to the most northwestern point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to the River Mississippi." Such a line as that described being ob viously impossible, the Mississippi River being south not west of the Lake of the Woods, the line drawn by the confer ence was a line from the most north western point of that lake to the nearest point on the Mississippi. This line the conference regarded as justified by rules of international law and practice respect ing vaguely described boundaries in such topographical circumstances. THE OREGON TERRITORY The Oregon Territory was the next subject to receive the attention of the conference. There seemed to be noth ing in the history of that part of our possessions to warrant mention of the claim of Spain rather than that of Great Britain, and the final settlement of the question of sovereignty and boundaries by the Treaty of 1846, fixing the 4 9 th parallel, "by an amicable compromise,"