Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/42

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Ch. 2.

in Spain, he found himself at his starting-point, at a loss how to go forward or to recede.

Monroe received early in February Talleyrand's letter of Dec. 21, 1804, on the boundary of West Florida; [1] he next suffered the mortification of listening to Talleyrand's order of July 27, 1804, forbidding Spain to "condescend" to pay or even to discuss the French spoliation claims; and from these documents he saw that for nearly a year past the French and Spanish governments had combined to entrap and humiliate him. The fault was his own, for he had received plain, not to say rude, warning; but he was perhaps only the more angry on that account, and in his irritation he undertook to terrify Napoleon. March 1, 1805, under the full consciousness of his situation, he wrote to Armstrong at Paris;[2]

"It cannot be doubted that if our Government could be prevailed on to give ground, that of France would be very glad of it, as it would be to take us and all our concerns, especially our funds, under its care. We are inclined to believe, with almost equal confidence, if we are firm, and show that we are not only able but resolved to take care of ourselves, that she will let us do so, and in regard to this question with Spain throw her weight into our scale to promote an adjustment between us on the fair principles insisted on by our Government. To bring her to this, she must clearly understand that the negotiation
  1. Monroe's diary at Aranjuez, March 16, 1805; Monroe MSS.
  2. Monroe to Armstrong, March 1, 1805; MSS. State Department Archives.