Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/395

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1808.
385
DIPLOMACY AND CONSPIRACY.

kind, indeed, but in which he expressed his sentiments unequivocally,—that in addition to the steps alluded to by Mr. Madison, he would wish that their ministers should be recalled from England and France, and that preparations should be immediately made for a state of hostility. Mr. Gallatin, the Secretary of the Treasury, would have preferred taking a decided part against one or other of those Powers before the embargo was first laid, but thinks that no other course can now be adopted. The Vice-President, Mr. Clinton, was and is strongly averse to the embargo system; and though he does not openly declare himself, it is well known that he is entirely opposed to the present Administration. . . . Indeed, in conversation with me yesterday he inveighed with great force against the conduct of Bonaparte toward Spain, and expressed his astonishment that any American should have hesitated to express such sentiments. He alluded to the conduct of this Government in not only withholding any approbation of the noble efforts of the Spaniards to resist that usurper's tyranny over them, but to the language held by their newspapers, and in private by themselves, of regret at these events as being likely to conduce to the interest and success of England. A different tone is now assumed upon that important subject; and the President said to me a few days ago that however he might doubt the eventual success of the Spanish cause, the feelings of a tiger could alone lead to an attempt to subjugate them through such torrents of blood and such devastation as must ensue if followed by success."

Erskine's report was nearly exact. In regard to Robert Smith, it was confirmed by a letter written at VOL. IV.—25