Convention for Indemnification of 1802 Between Spain and The United States - Hunter Miller's Notes


The original signed convention in the Department of State file is marked as received on November 24, 1802; it bears nine other endorsements which were obviously made when the document was in the Senate. When signed, the convention had six pages of writing, three Spanish and three English, with the Spanish on the left; but when, owing to its poor condition, it was restored, one of the sheets was turned around, so that as they are now tied together there are two pages of Spanish followed by two of English, then one of Spanish followed by one of English.

There is no duplicate of the United States instrument of ratification in the file. There is, however, a rough draft or copy of the essential clauses, which is dated January 9, 1804, the date of the Senate resolution, of which there are two attested copies, one written at the time and the other in 1818.

There is also in the file, obtained from the Spanish archives, a facsimile of another document, executed by President Monroe on December 21, 1818, attested by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, and under the Great Seal; that document is perhaps unique in character; it is not strictly an instrument of ratification but rather one of confirmation, and it was doubtless written because of the fact that nearly fifteen years had elapsed since the ratification by President Jefferson; the opening recitals of that instrument are as follows:

Whereas a Convention between the United States and Spain was agreed upon and concluded at Madrid on the eleventh day of August, in the year one thousand, eight hundred and two, by Charles Pinckney, at that time Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, in Spain, and Don Pedro Cevallos, Councellor of State, Gentleman of the Bed Chamber in employment, first Secretary of State and Universal Dispatch, and Superintendent General of the Posts and Post offices in Spain and the Indies, being fully authorized and empowered by their respective Governments, and was duly ratified by the then President of the United States on the ninth day of January, in the year one thousand, eight hundred and four, by and with the advice and Consent of the Senate: and whereas the said Convention was ratified by the King of Spain on the ninth day of July last past, which Convention is, word for word, as follows, to wit;-

Then, after the text of the convention in Spanish and English, are these final clauses:

Now therefore be it known, that I James Monroe, President of the United States, do promise to fulfil and observe the said Convention and to cause the same and every clause and article thereof to be fulfilled and faithfully observed on the part of the United States.
In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my Hand, and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at Washington this 2181 day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen; and of the Independence of the United States, the forty third.

The certificate of exchange of ratifications at Washington on December 21, 1818, is in two papers, one Spanish and one English, and was executed in triplicate.

The Spanish instrument of ratification of July 9, 1818, includes both texts, with the Spanish on the left.

The original proclamation has not been found; but it was published at the time (e.g., the Daily National Intelligencer, Washington, December 24, 1818), was transmitted to Congress on January 4, 1819, and is printed in American State Papers, Foreign Relations, IV, 407-8; it includes both texts of the convention, with the Spanish on the left.

By the act of March 16, 1804 (2 Statutes at Large, 270), an appropriation was made for carrying into effect the convention, the act to be in force from the date of the exchange of the ratifications.

The differences between Spain and the United States to which was due the long delay in the ratification of the convention by Spain, can only be mentioned here; a summary statement of the relations of the two countries during the period is in Haswell, 1384-85; some of the documents are in American State Papers, Foreign Relations, II, 596-606, 613-70, and IV, 422-626. Indeed, while the negotiations which resulted in the treaty with Spain of 1819 (Document 41) were going on in Washington in the autumn of 1818, it was at one time proposed still further to postpone the exchange of ratifications of this convention until their conclusion (ibid., IV, 525, 526, 546, 615); and by Article 10 of that treaty of February 22, 1819, this convention was annulled.

There are various references in this convention to the "existing treaty" with Spain, the treaty of October 27, 1795 (Document 18); but in Article 3 the English text omits the final words in the Spanish: "during the late war, contrary to the laws of nations and the existing treaty."

Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America.
Edited by Hunter Miller
Volume 2
Documents 1-40 : 1776-1818
Washington : Government Printing Office, 1931.
127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.