Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/50

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Ch. 2.

nary, in ordinary diplomatic usage, to a declaration of war; and nothing in Jefferson's Presidency was more surprising than that he should have thought such a policy of accumulating unsettled causes for war consistent with his policy of peace.

While the "Revenge" was slowly working across the Atlantic, Monroe in London was exposed to the full rigor of the fresh storm. News of the "Chesapeake" affair reached London July 25; and before it could become public Canning wrote to Monroe a private note,[1] cautiously worded, announcing that a "transaction" had taken place "off the coast of America," the particulars of which he was not at present enabled to communicate, and was anxious to receive from Monroe:—

"But whatever the real merits and character of the transaction may turn out to be, Mr. Canning could not forbear expressing without delay the sincere concern and sorrow which he feels at its unfortunate result, and assuring the American minister, both from himself and on the behalf of his Majesty's government, that if the British officers should prove to have been culpable, the most prompt and effectual reparation shall be afforded to the government of the United States."

When on Monday morning, July 27, Monroe read in the newspapers the account of what had taken place, and realized that Canning, while giving out that he knew not the particulars, must have had Admiral Berkeley's official report within his reach

  1. Canning to Monroe, July 25, 1807; State Papers, iii. 187.