hitherto accruing to the Republican
or Democratic party from our relations with Europe
, and our sympathies with one or the other of the parties which divided her, would be transferred at once to the Federalists, and probably doubled or quadrupled in intensity and efficiency.
The vigilant and far-seeing Jefferson
, always a patriot, and always intensely a partisan, perceived the peril at once to his country and his party, and resolved by a bold stroke to avert it. He determined that Louisiana
should be ours, and perceived, in the gathering storm of war, destined so soon to sweep away the fragile frost-work of the recent and unreal peace, a means of bending the astute and selfish Napoleon
to his will.
, so recently and easily reacquired by France
, must become a peril and a burden to her upon the outbreak of fresh hostilities with a power so superior in maritime strength as Great Britain
Tamely to surrender it, would be damaging, if not disgraceful; to hold it, would cost a fleet and an army, and the transfer of this fleet and army to a point so distant as the Mexican Gulf
was at best a hazardous enterprise.
badly needed money; we needed, or at least coveted, Louisiana
: and, where the rulers on either side are men so capable and clear-sighted as Bonaparte
, an arrangement mutually advantageous is not likely to fail.
After some skillful diplomatic fencing--Mr. Jefferson
talking as if the island of Orleans
and the Floridas
were all that we greatly cared for, when he meant from the first to have the whole — and after some natural giggling about the price, the bargain was struck on the 30th of April, 1803.
The hungry treasury of France
was richer by twelve millions of dollars; four millions more were paid by our government to our own citizens, in satisfaction of their righteous claims against France
for spoliations and other damages; and the United States
became the unquestioned owner and possessor of the entire Valley of the Mississippi; acquiring by this bloodless purchase an area of virgin soil, subject to the Indians' rights of inheritance and occupancy, worth many times its entire cost.
There is no evidence that this purchase was made in the interest of Slavery, or with any reference to the perpetuation of its existence or the increase of its power.
But this does not at all impinge on the fact that