Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/43

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1805.
31
MONROE'S DIPLOMACY.

is about to break up without doing anything, and that the failure is entirely owing to the part she has taken against us. When she sees that this is the literal fact, I do not think that her government will expose itself to the consequences resulting from it. It is not prepared to quarrel with us for many reasons: first, as we are a republic, and that system of government too recently overset there, and the one established in its stead too feebly founded, to make it a desirable object with the Emperor; second, as she relies altogether for supplies on our flag, and on our merchants and people for many other friendly offices in the way of trade, which none others can render; third, as our government pursues, by prohibiting our trade with St. Domingo, and in many other respects, a system of the most friendly accommodation to the interests of France, she ought not to hazard those advantages if there were no other objections to a rupture with us; fourth,—but there are other and much stronger objections to it,—we should come to a good understanding with England. . . . These considerations incline us to think that a rupture with us is an event which of all others she least seeks at the present time; and that it is only necessary to let her see distinctly that one with Spain is on the point of taking place, and will be owing altogether to her support of her pretensions, to induce France to change her policy and tone in the points depending here."

Pursuing this train of reasoning, Monroe tested its correctness by challenging a direct issue of courage. His letter, thus inspired, reached Paris in due time, and its ideas were pressed by Armstrong on members of the French government. Their answer was prompt and final; it was instantly reported by Armstrong to