c ambition, he cherished as a leading object of his policy, to acquire for France a colonial empire which should balance that of England.
In pursuit of this policy, he fixed his eye on the ancient regal colony which Louis XIV.
had founded in the heart of North America, and he tempted Spain by the paltry bribe of creating a kingdom of Etruria for a Bourbon prince, to give back to France the then boundless waste of the territory of Louisiana.
The cession was made by the secret treaty of San Ildefonso of the 1st of October, 1800, (of which one sentence only has ever been published, but that sentence gave away half a continent,) and the youthful conqueror concentrated all the resources of his mighty genius on the accomplishment of the vast project.
If successful, it would have established the French power on the mouth and on the right bank of the Mississippi, and would have opposed the most formidable barrier to the expansion of the United States.
The peace of Amiens, at this junctur