Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/66

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1803.
49
THE LOUISIANA TREATY.

treaties of immense consequence have been signed by American representatives,—the treaty of alliance with France; the treaty of peace with England which recognized independence; the treaty of Ghent; the treaty which ceded Florida; the Ashburton treaty; the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,—but in none of these did the United States government get so much for so little. The annexation of Louisiana was an event so portentous as to defy measurement; it gave a new face to politics, and ranked in historical importance next to the Declaration of Independence and the adoption of the Constitution,—events of which it was the logical outcome; but as a matter of diplomacy it was unparalleled, because it cost almost nothing.

The scandalous failure of the claims convention was a trifling drawback to the enjoyment of this unique success; but the success was further embittered by the conviction that America would give the honor to Monroe. Virginia was all-powerful. Livingston was unpopular, distrusted, not liked even by Madison; while Monroe, for political reasons, had been made a prominent figure. Public attention had been artificially drawn upon his mission; and in consequence, Monroe’s name grew great, so as almost to overshadow that of Madison, while Livingston heard few voices proclaiming his services to the country. In a few weeks Livingston began to see his laurels wither, and was forced to claim the credit that he thought his due. Monroe treated him less