Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/30

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1803.
13
RUPTURE OF THE PEACE OF AMIENS.

New Orleans seemed to lie in the possibility that Addington's peaceful administration in England might be driven into some act contrary to its vital interests; and even this chance was worth little, for so long as Bonaparte wanted peace, he could always keep it. England was thoroughly weary of war; and proved it by patiently looking on while Bonaparte, during the year, committed one arbitrary act after another, which at any previous time would have been followed by an instant withdrawal of the British minister from Paris.

On the other hand, the world could see that Bonaparte was already tired of peace; his rôle of beneficent shopkeeper disgusted him, and a new war in Europe was only a question of months. In such a case the blow might fall on the east bank of the Rhine, on Spain, or on England. Yet Bonaparte was in any case bound to keep Louisiana, or return it to Spain. Florida was not his to sell. The chance that Jefferson could buy either of these countries, even in case of a European war, seemed so small as hardly to be worth considering; but it existed, because Bonaparte was not a man like other men, and his action could never be calculated in advance.

The news that Leclerc was dead, that his army was annihilated, St. Domingo ruined, and the negroes more than ever beyond control, reached Paris and was printed in the "Moniteur" Jan. 7, 1803, in the same active week when Bernadotte, Laussat, and Victor were ordered from France to America, and