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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Sacramento was returned to Portugal


underlying factor which influenced

Spain was the imperialism of England, backed up as it was by her vast resources and her almost invincible navy. Charles did not wish to bring Spain into the war, but it was clear that an overwhelming defeat for France would be almost equally disadvantageous to Spain, who might expect to receive the next shock from the English arms. France had gotten much the worst of it in the Seven Years' War when Charles III ascended the Spanish throne, wherefore Charles endeavored to mediate between that power and England. The British government's arrogant rejection of his proffer tended only to make him the more disposed to consider an alliance with France. When, therefore, the French authorities approached him with the proposal for an alliance he resolved to join with them if England should refuse to meet Spain's demands relative to the release of captured Spanish ships, the free use of the Newfoundland fisheries, and the abandonment of the English settlements in Honduras. England not only refused to give satisfaction, but also asked for an explanation of the naval preparations Spain was making. Thereupon, Charles prepared for war. Two treaties, called jointly the Family Compact, were made with the Bourbon king of France. The first of these, signed in August, 1761, was a defensive alliance against such powers as should attack either of the two crowns. The second, dated in February, 1762, was an offensive and defensive alliance directed specifically against England. War, meanwhile, had already
been declared in January.

[Sidenote: Spanish losses in the Seven Years' War.]

In the ensuing campaign France and Spain were badly beaten. Manila and Havana were taken by the English, although Spain won a notable success in the capture of Sacramento, a Portuguese colony on the R?o de la Plata,--for Portugal had entered the war on the side of England. Twenty-seven richly laden English boats were taken at Sacramento,--significant of the profits which the English merchants were making in contraband trade, using Sacramento as a base. In 1763 a peace which was in many respects humiliating to Spain was signed at Paris. England restored Manila and Havana, but required the cession of Florida and all other Spanish territories east of the Mississippi; Sacramento was returned to Portugal; Spain gave up all rights of her subjects to fish in Newfoundland waters; questions arising out of the English captures of Spanish ships prior to Spain's entry into the war were to be decided by the British courts of admiralty; and the English right to cut dyewoods in Honduras was acknowledged, although England agreed to the demolition of all the fortifications which British subjects might have constructed there. France, who had lost practically all her other colonies to England, now gave the scantily settled, ill-defined region of French influence west of the Mississippi, all that remained of French Louisiana, to Spain. According to the terms of the grant it was to compensate Spain for her loss of Florida, but in fact it was in order to ensure the continued alliance of Spain with France.

[Sidenote: Preparations for a renewal of the war.]

[Sidenote: Pretexts for war.]

[Sidenote: The Falkland Islands affair.]

The peace of 1763 was looked upon by France and Spain as a truce, for if England had been dangerous


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