Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/44

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
32
Ch. 2.
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

Monroe in a letter[1] so pregnant with meaning that two of its sentences may be said to have decided the fate of Jefferson's second administration:—

"On the subject of indemnity for the suspended right of deposit professing to know nothing of the ground on which the interruption had been given) they would offer no opinion. On that of reparation for spoliations committed on our commerce by Frenchmen within the territory of his Catholic Majesty, they were equally prompt and decisive, declaring that our claim, having nothing of solidity in it, must be abandoned.
"With regard to boundary, we have, they said, already given an opinion, and see no cause to change it. To the question, What would be the course of this government in the event of a rupture between us and Spain? they answered, We can neither doubt nor hesitate,—we must take part with Spain; and our note of the 30th Frimaire [Dec. 21, 1804] was intended to communicate and impress this idea."

This stern message left Monroe helpless. To escape from Madrid without suffering some personal mortification was his best hope; and fortunately Godoy took no pleasure in personalities. The Spaniard was willing to let Monroe escape as soon as his defeat should be fairly recorded. The month of March had nearly passed before Monroe received Armstrong's letter; meanwhile Cevallos consumed the time in discussing the West Florida boundary. At the end of the month Monroe, fully aware at last

  1. Armstrong to Monroe, March 12 and 18, 1805; State Papers, ii. 636.