Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/22

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1803.
5
RUPTURE OF THE PEACE OF AMIENS.

the orders and arrangements were gradually made. Victor was to command the forces in Louisiana; Laussat was to be prefect, charged with the civil administration. Both received elaborate written instructions; and although Victor could not sail without ships or troops, Laussat was sent on his way.

These instructions, which were never published, had extreme value for the decision of disputes which were to perturb American politics for the next twenty years. Although Victor was forced to wait in Holland for the expedition he commanded, a copy of his instructions was given to Laussat, and served to regulate his conduct as long as he remained in office. Decrès, the Minister of Marine, was the author of this paper, which unfolded the purpose that had guided France in recovering, and was to control her in administering, this vast possession. Nothing could be simpler, clearer, or more consistent with French policy than this document, which embodied so large a part of Talleyrand's political system.

The instructions began, as was natural, by a careful definition of the new province. After reciting the terms of the retrocession according to the Third Article of Berthier's Treaty, Decrès fixed the boundaries of the territory which Victor, on the part of the French republic, was to receive from the Marquis of Somoruelos, the Captain-General of Cuba.[1]

  1. Instructions secrètes pour le Capitaine-Général de la Louisiane, approuvées par le Premier Consul le 5 Frimaire, An xi. (Nov. 26, 1802); Archives de la Marine, MSS.