Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/49

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Monroe to demand reparation from the British government. These instructions, dated July 6, 1807, were framed in the spirit which seemed to characterize Madison's diplomatic acts. Specific redress for a specific wrong appeared an easy demand. That the attack on the "Chesapeake" should be disavowed; that the men who had been seized should be restored; that punctilious exactness of form should mark the apology and retribution,—was matter of course; but that this special outrage, which stood on special ground, should be kept apart, and that its atonement should precede the consideration of every other disputed point, was the natural method of dealing with it if either party was serious in wishing for peace. Such a wound, left open to fester and smart, was certain to make war in the end inevitable. Both the President and Madison wanted peace; yet their instructions to Monroe made a settlement of the "Chesapeake" outrage impracticable by binding it to a settlement of the wider dispute as to impressments from merchant vessels.

"As a security for the future," wrote Madison,[1] "an entire abolition of impressments from vessels under the flag of the United States, if not already arranged, is also to make an indispensable part of the satisfaction."

Among the many impossibilities which had been required of Monroe during the last four years, this was one of the plainest. The demand was prelimi-

  1. Madison to Monroe, July 6, 1807; State Papers, iii. 183.