National Geographic : 1899 Mar
ORIGINAL TERRITORY OF THE UNITED STATES 85 Grenville wittily rejoined that he could not perceive what motive England had for giving away a fourteenth province because she had already lost thirteen. Although the commissioners had been directed to observe the most perfect loyalty to France, and to rely implicitly upon her counsels, we now know that the most moderate territorial pre tensions of the United States had not one friend in Europe. Spain was represented at the French court by the Count d'Aranda, a subtle diplomatist who bore no love to the young Republic of the West. Fearing alike future encroachment upon the territory of Spain and the dangerous contagion of republican principles, with which her American colonies had already become infected, he made preposterous claims for his country and pretended that the West was the territory of free and independent nations of Indians, whose sovereignty over their soil should be considered inviolable. Sustained by such flimsy reasons, he proposed to shut the United States between the mountains and the sea, in terposing a vast Indian territory between them and the Missis sippi and permitting Canada to extend south to the Ohio river.9 Bound to Spain by an ancient family alliance and a secret treaty which made the cession of Gibraltar back to Spain the price of peace with England, France proved the mere advocate of her ally and client. The Count de Vergennes, the able but evasive Minister of Foreign Affairs, had secretly instructed the envoys of France to the United States to oppose by every wile known to the art of diplomacy the American acquisition of Canada, while yet pretending to favor American expansion. Rayneval reports, in great glee, as we now read in his dispatches, how successfully he hoodwinked the President and certain mem bers of Congress, beguiled by his craft and the sweet influence of their tobacco pipes, and won rapturous expressions of grati tude from the Spanish agent Mirales. " Itisapartofthesystem of Spain, as it is also of France," writes Vergennes, "to main tain the English in the possession of Nova Scotia and Canada." During the negotiations he says the same to Luzerne, and adds that, of course, "this fashion of thinking should be an impene trable secret for the Americans." We are not surprised, therefore, that the French court sus tained the idea of Aranda, 10 and desired to crush the United SSee map of boundary lines discussed at Paris, 1782. oSee map of Boundaries of the United States, Canada, and the Spanish Possessions, according to the Proposal of the Court of France, 1782.