Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/41

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the whole American people as being in league with smugglers; that he had attacked the freedom of the press, and had called the right of deposit a charity of King Charles,—after adding that "it was impossible for us to have received a note which could have been more unexpected," the two American envoys began to discuss the French spoliation claims, "on the presumption that no premeditated outrage was intended." [1]

After a long argument on the French spoliations, Monroe's note next reached the most delicate point in discussion,—the positive order of Napoleon forbidding recognition of the claims. Treating the order as though it were only an expression of opinions, Monroe said, "We have received them with the consideration which is due to the very respectable authority from which they emanate. On all treaties between independent Powers each party has a right to form its own opinion. Every nation is the guardian of its own honor and rights; and the Emperor is too sensible of what is due to his own glory, and entertains too high a respect for the United States, to wish them to abandon a just sense of what is due to their own." Appealing finally to the positive orders of his own government. Monroe repeated that on these claims he must insist. Cevallos replied with a disavowal of "premeditated outrage;" and there, March 1, 1805, after Monroe had passed two months

  1. Monroe and Pinckney to Cevallos, Feb. 26, 1805; State Papers, ii. 646.