Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/50

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38
Ch. 2.
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

manners. "How go our affairs?" he asked; "are we to have peace or war?" Erving called his attention to the late seizures. The Prince replied that it was impossible for Spain to allow American vessels to carry English property." But we have a treaty which secures us that right," replied Erving. "Certainly, I know you have a treaty, for I made it with Mr. Pinckney," rejoined Godoy; and he went on with entire frankness to announce that the "free-goods" provision of that treaty would no longer be respected. Then he continued, with laughable coolness,—

"You may choose either peace or war. 'T is the same thing to me. I will tell you candidly, that if you will go to war this certainly is the moment, and you may take our possessions from us. I advise you to go to war now, if you think that is best for you; and then the peace which will be made in Europe will leave us two at war."[1]

Defiance could go no further. Elsewhere the Prince openly said that the United States had brought things to such a point as to leave Spain indifferent to the consequences. In war the President could only seize Florida; and Florida was the price he asked for remaining at peace. Mexico and Cuba were beyond his reach. Meanwhile Spain not only saved the money due for the old claims, but plundered American commerce, and still preserved her title to the Floridas and Texas,—a title which, at least as concerned the Floridas,

  1. Erving to Madison, Dec. 7. 1805; MSS. State Department Archives.