Friday, November 23, 2012

250 Years Ago ... 11/23/1762 The Treaty of Fontainebleau

 *Part of my continuing blog series leading up to the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis in February 2014.

On November 23, 1762, King Carlos of Spain finally got around to accepting the gift of Louisiana from France.    The Treaty of Fontainebleau made it official.

But shhhhhh.  Don't tell anyone.  It's still a secret from most of the world, including Louisiana.

Definite Act of Cession of Louisiana by the King of France to the King of Spain

Louis, by the grace of God, King of France and Navarre, to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting:  Whereas our very dear and well beloved cousin, the Duke de Choiseul, peer of our realm, knight of our orders and of the golden fleece, lieutenant-general of our armies, governor of Tourraine, colonel-general of the Swiss and Grisons, grandmaster and super-intendant general of the posts and relays of France, our minister and secretary of state for the departments of war and marine and the correspondence with the courts of Madrid and Lisbon, did sign, in our name, with the Marquis de Grimaldi, knight of our orders, gentleman of the chamber, in exercise of our very dear and well beloved brother and cousin, the Catholic king, and his ambassador extraordinary near us, a preliminary convention, whereby, in order to give our said brother and cousin a new testimonial of our tender friendship, of the strong interest which we take in satisfying him and promoting the welfare of his crown, and of our sincere desire to strengthen and render indissoluble the bonds which unite the French and Spanish nations, we ceded to him entire and perpetual possession of all the country known under the name of Louisiana, together with New-Orleans and the island in which that city stands, which convention had only been signed conditionally and sub sperati by the Marquis de Grimaldi: and whereas our said brother and cousin, the Catholic king, animated with the same sentiments toward us which we have evinced on this occasion, has agreed to the said cession, and ratified the conditional acceptation made by his said ambassador extraordinary, which convention and ratification are here inserted word for word, as follows:

Don Carlos, by the grace of God King of Castile, of Leon, of Arragon, of the two Sicilies, of Jerusalem, of Navarre, of Granada, of Toledo, of Valencia, of Gallicia, of Majorca, of Seville, of Sardinia, of Algesiras, of Gibralter, of the Canary Islands, of the East and West Indies, and the islands and main land of the ocean, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, of Brabant and Milan, Count of Hapsburg, of Flanders, of Tyrol, and of Barcelona, lord of Biscay, and of Molina, etc.

Whereas, on the third day of the present month, the preliminaries of a peace, were signed between the crowns of Spain and France, on the one part, and those of England and Portugal on the other, and the most Christian king, my very dear and well beloved cousin, purely from the nobleness of his heart, and the love and friendship in which we live, thought proper to dispose that the Marquis de Grimaldi, my ambassador extraordinary near his royal person, and the Duke de Choiseul, his minister of state, should on the same day sign a convention by which the crown of France ceded immediately to that of Spain, the country known by the name of Louisiana, together with New-Orleans and the island in which that city stands, and by which, said ambassador agrees to the cession only conditionally sub sperati, as he is not furnished with orders to execute it absolutely; the tenor of which convention is the following:

The most Christian king being firmly resolved to strengthen and perpetuate the bonds of tender amity which unite him to his cousin, the Catholic king, proposes in consequence to act with his Catholic majesty at all times  and in all circumstances, in a perfect uniformity of principles, for the common glory of their house and the reciprocal interests of their kingdoms.

With this view, his most Christian majesty, being fully sensible of the sacrifices made by the Catholic king in generously uniting with him for the restoration of peace, desires, on this occasion, to give him a proof of the strong interest which he takes in satisfying him and affording advantages to his crown.

The most Christian king has accordingly authorized his minister, the Duke de Choiseul, to deliver up to the Marquis de Grimaldi, the ambassador of the Catholic king, in the most authentic form, an act whereby his most Christian majesty cedes in entire possession, purely and simply, without exception, to his Catholic majesty and his successors, in perpetuity, all the country known under the name Louisiana, as well as New-Orleans and the island in which that place stands.

But as the Marquis de Grimaldi is not informed with sufficient precision of the intentions of his Catholic majesty, he has thought proper only to accept the said cession conditionally, and sub sperati  until he receives the orders expected by him from the king, his master, which, if conformable with the desires of his most Christian majesty, as he hopes they will be, will be followed by the authentic act of cession of the said country; stipulating also the measures and the time, to be fixed by common accord, for the evacuation of Louisiana and New-Orleans, by the subjects of his most Christian majesty, and for the possession of the same by those of his Catholic majesty.

In testimony whereof, we, the respective ministers, have signed the present preliminary convention, and have affixed to it the seals of our arms.

Done at Fontainebleu, on the third of November, one thousand seven hundred and sixty two.


Therefore in order to establish between the Spanish and French nations the spirit of union and friendship which should subsist as they do in the hearts of their sovereigns, I, therefore, take pleasure, in accepting, as I do accept, in proper form, the said act of cession, promising to accept those which hereafter may be judged necessary for carrying it into entire and formal execution, and authorizing the said Marquis de Grimaldi to treat, conclude and sign them.

In testimony whereof, I have ordered these presents to be drawn up, signed by my hand, sealed with my privy seal, and countersigned by my counselor of state and chief secretary of state and war.  Given at San Lorenzo et Real on the thirteenth of November, seventeen hundred and sixty-two.

I, the King

(countersigned) Ricardo Wall.
The said acceptance and ratification having been approved by us, and regarded as a strong evidence of the friendship and goodwill of our very dear and well-beloved cousin, the Catholic king, we renew and confirm by these presents, the cession of Louisiana and New-Orleans, with the island in which that city stands, promising immediately to conclude with our said brother and cousin a convention, in which the measures to be taken in concert for executing and consummating this session to our mutual satisfaction will be fixed by common accord. In faith whereof, we have caused these presents to be drawn up, which we have signed with our hands, and have affixed to them our secret seal.

Given at Versailles, on the twenty-third day of the month of November, in the year of grace one thousand seven hundred and sixty-two, and of our reign the forty-eighth.


(by the King)

Choiseul, Duke de Praslin