Charles III of Spain accepts western
Louisiana from the French
Treaty of Fontainebleau 1762 -
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Treaty of Fontainebleau 1762
Charles III of
Spain in Hunting Costume
Oil on canvas by
Definite act of cession of
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 Touraine,
colonel general of the Swiss and Grisons, grandmaster and
superintendant 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, gentlemen 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
to 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 spe
rati by the Marquis de Grimaldi : and whereas our said
brother and cousin the Catholic King, animated by the same
sentiments towards 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 Cordova, of Corsica, of Murcia,
of Jaen, of the Algarves, of Algesiras, of Gibraltar, 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
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 spe rati, 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 principle, for the
common glory of their house and the reciprocal interests of
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 of 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 spe rati,
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
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 Fontainebleau, on the third of November, one
thousand seven hundred and sixty-two.
The Duke de Choiseul.
The Marquis de Grimaldi.
Therefore, in order to establish
between the Spanish and French nations the same 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 also to accept those which may hereafter
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
Councillor of State and chief Secretary of State and War.
Given at San Lorenzo el Real, on
the thirteenth of November, seventeen hundred and sixty-two.
Countersigned : Ricardo Wall.
The said acceptation and ratification having been approved
by us, and regarded as a strong evidence of the friendship
and good will of our very dear and well-beloved cousin the
Catholic King, we renew and confirm by these presents the
cession of Louisiana and of 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 cession 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.
Source: Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841.
Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading
Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the
Twenty-Fourth Congress. Washington D.C., page 226.
UNT Digital Library, University of North Texas