Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/54

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42
Ch. 2.
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

so as to make Spain apply to her. He thinks she will then act; and settling the Spanish spoliation business as by the treaty of 1802, and getting all that can be got for Florida he says eight millions of dollars are expected), promote an adjustment."

If Jefferson's administration cared to commit an error of colossal proportions, it had but to follow the hints of these irresponsible agents of Marbois and Talleyrand, who presumed to say in advance what motives would decide the mind of Napoleon. No man in France—neither Talleyrand nor Berthier, nor even Duroc—knew the scope of the Emperor's ambition, or could foretell the expedients he would use or reject. Monroe's friend was ill-informed, or deceived him. France had not withheld her opinion on the western limits; on the contrary, her opinion had been exactly followed by Spain. Not Talleyrand, much less Napoleon, but Cevallos himself had withheld that opinion from Monroe's knowledge, doubtless because he wished to keep a weapon in reserve for use at close quarters if his antagonist should come so near. Had Monroe not been discomfited before Cevallos exhausted his arsenal, this weapon would certainly have been used for a final blow. Cevallos still held it in reserve.

Leaving the Spanish affair embroiled beyond disentanglement, Monroe recrossed the Channel, and July 23 found himself again in London. During a century of American diplomatic history a minister of the United States has seldom if ever within six months