The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, July 18, 1901, Page 9, Image 9

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nortli nnd to the Mississippi. Our oycs
look upon a populous and prosperous
city which shall watch forever over this
grave , and around it a rich and happy
state of the American union with more
than 2,000,000 of patriotic inhabitants ,
who today recall with pride the story
of the first American pioneers of the
great west. It is a transformation -
matohe'd in any oriental story. But
these pilgrims of the wilderness , igno
rant and undreaming of all this incredi
ble future , passed on , plying their oars
until at the end of nineteen days they
met a joyous welcome from the villag
ers of St. Louis , and rested from their
The Monument.
But this lofty monument is not
"erected solely to commemorate the
modest life and humble career of the
army sergeant whose bones were de
posited in this soil long before the plow
of civilization had disturbed it. Nor
will this memorial only serve to cele
brate the splendid exploration accom
plished by his more fortunate com
panions. It also perpetuates the memory
of a great historic act which influenced
the fate of three nations and opened the
way to new liberties for mankind. It
changed the development of our people ,
and gave a new pathway to the march
of our young republic. It is this histor
ical significance of the monument
which induced the national congress ,
the legislature of Iowa , and the patriotic
people of Sioux City to combine their
'efforts for its erection. It is my honor
able , welcome duty today , fellow citi
zens , to invite your attention to the
history of that great acquisition in our
national progress which this monument
will forever commemorate ; and to indi
cate its influence upon the later desti
nies of the republic.
French Louisiana.
Before the outbreak of the Anglo-
French war of 1756 the French king
claimed under the name of "Louisiana , "
not only all of the Mississippi valley
west of that river , but also all the val
ley on the east of it lying north of
Spanish Florida , and eastward to the
Allegheny mountains. The country
north of the upper Ohio , however , was
regarded as a part of Canada. The
Count de Vorgennes in his memorial on
the subject addressed to the King of
France says that the Appalachian moun
tains "separate the new France from
the new F/dgland as distinctly as in
Europe the mountains of the Pyrenees
separate France from Spain ; " ( "sepa-
rent aussi distinctement la nouvelle
France de la nouvelle Angleterre , quo
les Monts Pyrenees separent , en Europe ,
la France d'avec PEspagno. " ) The
Louisiana of that day may be generally
described as embracing the whole re
gion north of Spanish Mexico and
Spanish Florida , from the sources of
the Alleghenies to the Rocky Mountains
and from the sources of the Mississippi
to its mouth , with the exception of that
north-eastern part which was tributary
to the great lakes north of the Ohio and
was therefore associated with Canada.
The French wore very active in es
tablishing trading posts and making
agreements with the Indians for com
mon hostility to the English. Along
the undefined boundaries , aggressions
were continually occxirriug without
waiting for declarations of war. When
the war of 1766 came it proved exhaust
ive for both parties , but ended most
disastrously for the French. They were
obliged in the end to surrender to the
British , all of Canada and all of Louisiana
lying east of the Mississippi , with the
exception of New Orleans and the block
of adjacent laud extending east to the
boundary of west Florida. The delta
east of the river , and all the remainder
of Louisiana to the west and north
west of the river as far as the mount
ains was about the same time ceded to
Spain in compensation for her losses in
the war as the ally of France.
The retention by the French king in
his treaty with England of the lower
east bank of the river , which gave to
the jealous Spaniard the control of both
banks for a long distance above the
mouth , and of the whole gulf coast ,
was destined to cause much angry ex
citement and trouble in the future , with
much contention between the United
States aud Spanish governments ; and it
led later to a great change in the policy
of the United States. The treaty of
peace of 1768 assured to England the
free navigation of the river to its mouth.
But commerce in barges and flat boats
required a depot near New Orleans for
its transfer to ocean going vessels.
France , however , had relieved herself of
all trouble on this account by her secret
transfer of the territory to Spain. After
the peace of 1768 England found French
interests withdrawn from the American
continent ; and Spain was in possession
of all the Mississippi region which
France had owned or claimed , except
that portion toward the Allegheuies
which waa ceded by the treaty to Eng
The New Republic.
This was the situation when our revo
lutionary war again disturbed the inter
national conditions in respect to Louisi
ana. Naturally the sympathies of the
French people and government were
with our American patriots because
England was our adversary. But the
memoir of Count de Vergennes , before
referred to , shows that the motive of
France for participating in the revolu
tionary war as our ally was found in the
hope of inducing Spain to retrocede
Louisiana , and of recovering Canada
for herself. The memoir expressly men
tions the danger to both Spain and
France if the Americans should succeed
in their revolution. The French states
man says plainly that "tho United
Provinces of America , after shaking off
the metropolitan yoke , will bo in a con
dition to give the law to Franco and
Spain in all America , and they will in
vade their possessions at the moment
when the two crowns would be least
thinking of it. " . The French gov
ernment was not so desirous for our sue- ' §
cess as for the loss by England of her
American colonies and later acquisitions ,
and for the restoration to France of her
own former possessions. But even with
her aid the war had no such result.
England retained Canada , and conceded
to the revolted colonies their indepen
dence , together with all the territory
held by England south of Canada and
east of the Mississippi.
This territory seemed to our fathers
vast enough for many generations of
Americans. So late as 1801 Jefferson
in his inaugural message congratulated
the American people on "possessing a
chosen country , with room enough for
our descendants to the hundredth and
thousandth generation. " And yet in
that same generation , during that very
administration , the expansion of the
territory of the republic began , not by
will of president or government , but by
that providential force of development
that has so often in our history over
borne or compelled the will of man.
The story of this wonderful transforma
tion of public opinion and statesman
ship may be briefly told.
Spain and the Movement West.
After the establishment of our inde
pendence , and indeed before it , our al
ready scattered population had begun to
feel its way across the Alleghenies into
the fertile lands of the great valley be
yond. All the transportation of their
products seaward must follow the cur
rent of the rivers flowing into the Gulf
of Mexico. Spain , now holding all the
outlets through east and west Florida ,
and the entire gulf coast as far as Mexi
co by her acquisition of Louisiana , was
arbitrary , selfish and jealous of this
right of transit through her territory.
The United States government by
treaty in 1795 had secured from Spain
the right of depot at New Orleans for
products of the United States for the
term of three years only , with provision
for its continuance or for the establish
ment'of another depot on the banks of
the river. For a few years this arrange
ment was continued undisturbed. Then
came a report from Europe that Spain
under the commanding influence of
Bonaparte had retroceded-New Orleans
and the entire province of Louisiana to
France. In the subsequent excitement -
among the colonists the Spanish intend-
ant for some unknown reason cancelled
( Continued on page 13. )