Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/40

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1803.
23
RUPTURE OF THE PEACE OF AMIENS.

The United States can address themselves to the French government to negotiate the acquisition of territories which may suit their interest."

Cevallos knew that Bonaparte had bound himself formally never to alienate Louisiana, and in referring Pinckney to France he supposed himself safe. Pinckney, on the other hand, prided himself on having helped to prevent France from gaining Florida as well as Louisiana, and was anxious to secure West Florida for his own credit; while he had no idea that Louisiana could be obtained at all.

Yet nearly a week before this note was written Louisiana had become American property. So completely was Godoy deceived, that when April arrived and he saw Spain again about to be dragged into unknown perils, he never divined that he was to be struck in America; his anxieties rose from fear that Spain might be dragged into a new war in Europe, in subservience to France. He could expect to escape such a war only by a quarrel with Napoleon, and he knew that a war with Napoleon was a desperate resource.

In London statesmanship had an easier game, and played it at first simply and coolly. Rufus King watched it with anxious eyes. He wished to escape from the duty of expressing a diplomatic policy which he might not approve, to a Government which had other and heavier tasks than that of listening to his advice or warnings. The British Ministry behaved well to America; for their advices from Thornton led