Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/32

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still needed before any return could be expected for so lavish an expenditure. In Europe war could be made to support war; in St. Domingo peace alone could but slowly repair some part of this frightful waste.

Leclerc was succeeded at St. Domingo by General Rochambeau, a son of the Comte de Rochambeau, who twenty years before had commanded the French corps which enabled Washington to capture Cornwallis at Yorktown. A brave officer, but known to be little fit for administration, Rochambeau was incompetent for the task that fell on him. Leclerc had warned the Government that in case of his own retirement he had no officer fit to replace him,—least of all Rochambeau, who was next in rank. Rochambeau wrote to inform the First Consul that thirty-five thousand men must be sent to save the island.[1] Without a new commander-in-chief of the highest ability, a new army was useless; and meanwhile Rochambeau was certain to waste the few thousand acclimated soldiers who should form its nucleus.

The First Consul found himself in a difficult and even dangerous situation. Probably the colonial scheme had never suited his tastes, and perhaps he had waited only until he should be firm in power in order to throw off the tutelage of Talleyrand; but the moment had arrived when his tastes coincided

  1. Rochambeau to Decrès, 16 Frimaire, An xi. (Dec. 7, 1802); Archives de la Marine, MSS.