Hartford, Connecticut: The Connecticut Courant, January 26, 1803. Unbound. Two pages of this four-page newspaper are devoted to Louisiana and the debate in the House of Representatives following Jefferson’s Second Annual Report to Congress. Two names have been written in the upper margin of the first page: Elihu Thomas and James Thomas. The newspaper is complete and in nice shape with some minor edge-wear and short splits beginning along a horizontal storage fold. Very good. Item #009093
At the end of the French and Indian War, France withdrew from North America, ceding its territories east of the Mississippi River to the British and New Orleans and Louisiana to Spain. In a subsequent treaty, Spain granted the United States the right to use the Mississippi and New Orleans for commerce, and both the river and the port became essential to the American economy. Napoleon, who seized power in 1799, had designs for restoring French power in North America, and in October of 1802, he coerced Spanish King Charles IV to return Louisiana to France. Panic gripped the United States when, after the transfer, American access to New Orleans’ warehouses was revoked, effectively preventing any shipment of U.S. goods through the port. While many called for a declaration of war, Jefferson dispatched his Secretary of State, James Madison, to Paris to assist the U.S. Minister to France, Robert Livingston, in negotiating a peaceful resolution. However, in his address of December 15, Jefferson also warned Congress that “the cession of the Spanish province of Louisiana to France . . . will, if carried into effect, make a change in the aspect of our foreign relations, which will doubtless have just weight in any deliberations of the legislature connected with that subject.” Debate began immediately, and both Congress and the public clamored for more information. This newspaper’s lead article is in direct response to Jefferson’s “message.” It begins, “The subject of Louisiana continues every day to become more and more interesting to all classes of American citizens,” and over the next 48 column inches provides a comprehensive history of the territory and its related international politics from 1512 through 1795. An additional 90 column inches are devoted to the Congressional debate that was touched off by Jefferson’s speech including remarks made by Congressmen Bacon, Dana, Davis, Dawson, Eustis, Huger, Gregg, Griswold, Randolph, Rutledge, and Smilie. A scarce early Louisiana Purchase item. Although reports of the debate appeared in a number of newspapers, as of 2018, OCLC shows no institutional holdings of any contemporary writing about the history of and international politics surrounding Louisiana although interent queries located two digital copies of this article in other newspapers. Auction searches using ABPC and the Rare Book Hub returned no records. No similar items are for sale in the trade.