Middlesex Gazette & Advertiser 7/18/1818 2: 1-2
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Article Title: Dispute Between Spain and America. From the London Times. Editorial stating that the
U.S. will not press its claims to hold Florida if Spain retaliates against American commerce.
Published in: Middlesex Gazette Advertiser
Place of Publication: Concord, MA
Publication Date: 7/18/1818

From the London Times.
Dispute between Spain and America.
The state of affairs between Spain and America, affords great matter for political speculation at
present. There are those who maintain, that the former power must succumb to the dictum of the
latter, and yield, however reluctantly, the Floridas, to satisfy the North American government. Others
assert, that the minister (Don Onis) could not have proceeded the length of declaring the proposition
of the Americans to be " inadmissible," without holding an assurance from his government, that it
would not compromise its honour and national reputation, by yielding to the unjust claims of the
United States. The demands of the Americans must have been long since known at Madrid ; and it is
fair to conclude that the Chevelier D'Onis was fully authorized to uphold the dignity and respectability
of Spain by a positive rejection of such proposals as may humble his native country in the opinion of
other nations. If this proves to be the case, it is equally reasonable to conclude that the Court of
Madrid had resolved to support it pretensions by a vigorous maritime war, the moment the U. States
may take any step to enforce the measures which they have proposed for their own advantage. War
must, therefore, depend upon the act of the Americans, who will put it off until their numerous tradera
are apprized of their danger; and thus Spain will, in a great measure lose the advantage which that
kingdom might derive from a sudden declaration and vigorous prosecution of the war. The Americans
are aware of this ; and their papers, therefore, teem with assurances to tranquilize the Spaniards,
that no act of hostility will take place this session," which is meant to have a double effectfirst, to
mislead the Spaniards ; and next, to caution the American merchants of their embryo. Torpor or
credulity on the part of Spain, would enable the Americans to secure their very extended commerce
from the risk of capture, and equally enable the government to direct its whole resources against the
Spanish Colonies. If, on the contrary, Spain should pursue a firm, vigorous, and courageous conduct,
an immense booty would enrich her navy, and the adventurous privateers which would sail under her
colors and commissions
America, has, undoubtedly, a great deal to lose, even if at war with the weakest power. It is this
consideration which will, no doubt, dictate to the president a greater share of justice and moderation
in its claims upon Spain than which has been exhibited. In the spirit of commerce he has demanded
the highest price for his friendship ; but like a prudent and wise politician he will not risk a great loss
by insisting upon his first terms. Anything which interrupts the commerce of the United States, will
promote that of other rival and commercial nations. The expense of protecting their very extended
trade, would, of itself, give a decided advantage to other nautical communities. The injury they might
do Spain might possibly be great; but in effecting it, their own losses would be very considerable, and
probably much more serious than the commercial interests of the nation would patiently submit to;
so that the same evil which she intends for Spain, may be as likely to overtake herself from the
hardships imposed on some of her own statesnamely, an emancipation of those states from the
general government of the nation. Politicians have long contemplated a separation of the southern
states, which, possibly, the ambitious projects of the governments, and the risks attendant on an
unnecessary and unjust war, may produce.

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