Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/29

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12
Ch. 1.
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

and all the members of the two Governments; and when any unforeseen difficulty rises which may in any degree whatever compromise their good understanding, the simplest and most effectual means of preventing all danger is to refer its solution to the inquiry and direct judgment of the two Governments."

Talleyrand's language was more elaborate, but not clearer, than that which Bonaparte himself used to Victor.[1]

"I have no need to tell you," the First Consul wrote, "with what impatience the Government will wait for news from you in order to settle its ideas in regard to the pretensions of the United States and their usurpations over the Spaniards. What the Government may think proper to do must not be judged in advance until you have rendered an account of the state of things. Every time you perceive that the United States are raising pretensions, answer that no one has an idea of this at Paris (que l'on n'a aucune idée de cela à Paris); but that you have written, and that you are expecting orders."

These were the ideas held by the government of France at the moment when Jefferson nominated Monroe as a special envoy to buy New Orleans and West Florida. Jefferson's hopes of his success were small; and Livingston, although on the spot and eager to try the experiment, could only write: [2] "Do not absolutely despair." Whatever chance existed of obtaining

  1. Correspondance, viii. 146; Bonaparte to Victor, 25 Frimaire, An xi. (Dec. 16, 1802).
  2. Livingston to Madison, Dec. 20, 1802; State Papers, ii. 528.