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followed ; and thousands of the best and firmly intrenched; on the east lay the noblest men and women in France. Chris- young republic; but beyond the Missistianity was abolished, and the churches sippi was Louisiana, already French in its were closed throughout the country. The antecedents and sympathies. Here was Federalists expressed strong disapproval of the opportunity which Napoleon coveted. this overgrown democracy, and when war In 1800 he obtained the territory from broke out between France and England, Spain by treaty. The treaty was kept a they favored the latter. The Republicans, profound secret, as well it might be, for on the other hand, could not do enough Napoleon realized that England could at to testify their fervent admiration for the any time take possession of New Orleans doings in Paris. They called each other and hold it, by virtue of her superior naval “Citizen," after the French fashion, instead strength. Not until peace was made beof “Mr.”; they applauded the French tween England and France did Napoleon victories; they welcomed the French am- openly acknowledge the cession. Then, bassador with extravagant rejoicings. It is indeed, he made preparations for the estabtrue that Jefferson neither led nor followed lishment of a large colony at the mouth of his party into all this madness; yet his the Mississippi. Once more he would try sympathies were clearly with the Revolu- the experiment in which Louis XIV. had tion, and just as Hamilton was the recog- failed. Once more the flag of France nized head of the English party, Jefferson should wave over vast American empire. became the natural centre of that which The peace with England, however, proved favored France.
to be only a breathing spell, and as the Thus French influence continued to complications began to arise which must make itself felt in American politics. It is lead to a renewal of the war, Napoleon's true that a treaty with England, when the mind often turned with anxiety to his French government looked for a declaration far-away possession. To defend it would of war, almost destroyed the old friendship be expensive and doubtful, to abandon it of France for us, and that the depreda- would be to put a premium upon English tions of French war-ships upon our com- naval enterprise. Meanwhile time was merce cooled the warmth of even the pressing. “I must have Malta or war," Republicans, and almost led to war with said Napoleon to the British ambassador; France. Nevertheless French influence was and he knew that his words made the outone of the most potent factors in bringing break of hostilities a matter of weeks, even about that reaction which made Jefferson of days. Moreover, other considerations, president.
an empty treasury for one, had their effect But while the French Revolution was upon Bonaparte's mind. Thus it happened contributing so large a share in bringing that Louisiana, full of untold possibilities, Jefferson into power on this side of the bearing the fruit of the labors of La Salle sea, it was paving the way in France for and Marquette and the last hope of French the supremacy of Napoleon Bonaparte. dominion in America, was for sale. The same year in which Jefferson was To Jefferson also Louisiana had a deep elected President saw Bonaparte firmly interest. In the years just succeeding the seated as First Consul. But if we con- Revolution, the English settlers on the sider that his ambition was hemmed in by coast for the first time began to break the narrow limits of France, or even of through the mountain barrier which had Europe, we fail to comprehend Napoleon. so long confined them, and to take possesLike Louis XIV., he longed to see the flag sion of the Ohio valley. But the road over of France supreme on every continent, in the mountains was a hard one, and for every quarter of the earth. In person he many years there was surprisingly little inled his legions to Egypt; his ambition tercourse between the people on opposite dreamed of imitating Alexander in the far sides. Those on the west slope looked to East; more than once he was suspected of the Mississippi as the natural outlet for having designs upon India.
But more their products. Spring and fall great fleets than all his mind turned to America, the of flat-boats, laden with flour, tobacco, and soil of which was already consecrated to hams, floated down the stream to New France by the memories of La Salle and Orleans, where the merchandise was sold Montcalm. On the north, England was or exported. They were gallant souls, those early pioneers and state builders, Napoleon merely answered Mr. Livingmen in whom the sterner qualities pre- stone politely, and went on with his prepadominated. They had won their heritage rations for establishing a colony. bit by bit from the bear, the catamount, Meanwhile the whole West was stirred to and the red man, and they were little dis- its depths. That a mongrel population of posed to suffer the insolence of the Span- thirty thousand, half of them slaves, should iards at New Orleans. When therefore the longer stand in the way of the rights of Spanish governor closed the Mississippi to three large states containing twenty times American commerce, from all the country as many inhabitants, was absurd. The west of the mountains a great cry went up. frontiersmen proposed to descend the river Wherever a number of frontiersmen were in force and occupy New Orleans, despite gathered together, some new tale of Span- the Federal Government, European diploish cruelty would come out. Now it was macy, or the legions of Napoleon. We that one Thomas Amis, a settler on the have seen that Jefferson had been elected Ohio, had been stopped at Natchez, his president as the candidate who appealed goods confiscated, and himself turned to the feeling in this country favorable to adrift in the forest to get home as best he France. Naturally he dreaded war with could. The story would be told with a that power above all things. At the same rude eloquence that would fire the hearts time he was too thoroughly patriotic to of the hearers. And then would follow place a sentimental liking of any foreign curses, loud and deep, against the proud, nation above the true welfare of his own cruel Spaniards, and against the Union country. Accordingly, while on the one which left them defenceless and without a hand he held back the western settlers from remedy. More than once the whole West violent measures, his language in regard to was in a blaze, and it seemed inevitable France took a more decided tone. Louisithat the country must split asunder on the ana included both banks of the river as far great line of the Appalachian Mountains. north as Natchez. Could Jefferson obtain Washington himself declared that the west- the east bank, together with the island of ern states stood, as it were, upon a pivot, New Orleans, he might feel that the right and it needed but a touch to move them of navigation of the river would be reain either direction.
sonably secure. He therefore despatched The pioneers had no more sincere friend James Monroe as a special envoy to France, than Jefferson. As governor of Virginia to negotiate upon this basis, it being well he had taken a deep interest in the begin- understood by the latter, however, that the nings of Kentucky. Later, as Secretary ultimate object was the acquisition of all of State, he had been unremitting in his Louisiana. Congress placed at his disposal efforts to gain the right of navigation of two millions of dollars to pay expenses. We the Mississippi by treaty. This had at have seen how European affairs operated length been attained in 1795, but when in to assist Jefferson's diplomacy. Instead of 1802 the Spanish authorities at New Or- accepting Monroe's offer, Bonaparte made leans, acting in the name of France, once the counter offer of the whole region for more closed the river to American com- one hundred and twenty-five millions of merce, Jefferson found himself again called francs. A little judicious haggling reduced upon to interfere. Moreover, he felt that the price to eighty millions, or about sixthe nation which should hold New Orleans teen millions of dollars, a fourth of which must be our natural enemy, and he realized was to be paid to American citizens as satishow much more serious the situation would faction for claims against France. After a be if, for that enemy, instead of the decay- few days for consideration, the American ing power of Spain, we should have France ambassadors accepted these terms, and under Napoleon. At the first rumor of signed the treaty, April 30, 1803. “Of all the cession he instructed our minister to our services to our country,” said LivingFrance, Robert R. Livingstone, to make stone, “this is the greatest.” “I have given overtures to Bonaparte, looking towards England a maritime rival who will one day the acquisition of Louisiana, or part of it, humble her pride," said Napoleon, as he by this country. Affairs in Europe, how- ratified the treaty on behalf of France. The ever, had not yet reached that critical con- treaty was forwarded to America, where it dition which they afterwards assumed, and was approved by Jefferson and ratified by
Congress. At noon, on the 29th of De- would supply a political weapon to the cember, 1803, in the presence of a large Federalists, and would strongly impeach part of the population of Louisiana, the Jefferson's own reputation for consistency. French tri-color was lowered from its staff These scruples and objections doubtless in the public square of New Orleans, and in passed through Jefferson's mind; but the its place the people saw waving above them great importance of the purchase to the the stars and stripes of the Federal Union. United States was sufficient to overbalance
Let us briefly consider the results of this them all. It was a case in which a great Louisiana Purchase, — what it meant to acquisition must be paid for by a great conFrance, to the United States, and to Jeffer- cession. On the one hand were the prin
To France the cession of Louisiana ciples which had guided his own political meant the final relinquishment of her in- life, and upon which he had founded the terest in the North American continent. Republican party ; on the other, true statesFrom the time when Verazzano sailed along manship and the real welfare of the nation. the coast, in 1524, it had been the cher- The statesman and the political theorist in ished dream of heroic souls to win an Jefferson met face to face, and the former empire in the new world, - perhaps for triumphed. The Louisiana Purchase, conthe Jesuit, perhaps for the Huguenot, but trary alike to the Constitution and to Jefferat all events for France. For this cause son's own political faith, was, nevertheless, Coligny and Colbert had labored at Paris, accomplished ; and to-day almost a century and Champlain and Frontenac at Quebec. of history bears unbroken record to the wisFor this cause Jean Ribaut had perished in dom and statesmanship which dictated it. the swamps of Florida, Marquette by the If we ask what the purchase meant to Great Lakes, La Salle on the coast of Jefferson's fellow-citizens and contempoTexas, and Montcalm on the Plains of raries, we have to answer, Very little. They Abraham. The struggle forms a grand yet had come into possession of a territory expathetic story. Slowly, mournfully, the tri- tending from the Mississippi to the Mexicolor is lowered from its staff in the square can border and the Rocky Mountains, but of New Orleans. It is the last time that a as yet they comprehended but vaguely their French flag shall float over American soil new acquisition. So little was known about in token of sovereignty.
the region that the most marvellous tales Next, as to Jefferson. We have seen were set in circulation, and even transhow his fondness for laying down abstract mitted to Congress by Jefferson in his redoctrines of political morality, combined port. There were tribes of Indians, veriwith his intense democracy, had taken form table Goliaths in size, curious plants and in the theories of strict construction and animals and, most wonderful of all, a mounstate rights. He had attacked the Fed- tain of salt, one hundred and eighty miles eralists for going beyond the letter of the long by forty-five wide. Of all this, as of Constitution. Nowhere could he find in the purchase generally, the Federalist papers that instrument any authority for the pur- made unlimited fun. One inquired, with chase of territory by the general govern- great innocence, if this mountain might ment. He had drawn up a series of not be the remains of Lot's wife. They resolutions for Kentucky, explicitly declar- scouted the price. Why, William Penn ing the individual state superior to the had obtained Pennsylvania for five thounational government. Surely he realized sand pounds, and Gorges had paid only that the acquisition of Louisiana must shat- twelve hundred and fifty for all Maine ! ter this theory; for whatever might be the Even good Republicans felt that a debt of application of the doctrine of state rights sixteen millions of dollars was a very danto one of the original thirteen colonies, gerous affair. Some cautious people suglike Virginia, or however it might be twisted gested that when emigration to the new to apply to an offshoot from it, like Ken- regions set in, the entire East would be tucky, it certainly could have no rightful depopulated, and there would not be connection with a state formed out of enough people left on the sea-board to territory bought and paid for by the whole keep out a foreign army. nation. Moreover, the purchase might that a new state would arise beyond the furnish a precedent and a power for future Mississippi. Josiah Quincy opposed the administrations to use badly. It certainly purchase on the ground that it would strengthen the slave power. These alarms, we must look at it from the standpoint of however, proved for the most part to be its world-wide importance. We must reimaginary. The growing wealth of the flect how much smaller would be the capacountry soon put at rest any fears on the bility of our country of playing the part score of the debt. The emigration from the assigned it in the great drama of the world, East did not prove as violent as was feared. with Chicago to-day a frontier city and the Before the new country had time to think Mississippi for our western limit; how of secession, it was bound to the older changed the course of the world's history, states by bonds of steel. It is true that with a French empire stretching from the Louisiana Purchase added three new Oregon to the Isthmus. states to the slave power ; but these were This brings us again to the question of far outbalanced by the great free Northwest. America and France. Says Mr. John Rich
It was said of Chatham that he found ard Green: “In the centuries which lie his country an island and left her an em- before us, the primacy of the world will lie pire. Scarcely less is the verdict of history with the English people ; " and a recent upon Thomas Jefferson. When Jefferson magazine article speaks as a matter of became president he found no less than course of the time when Italian, Spanish, three European powers" hanging on the and French will be of as little practical flanks and rear of the republic," — on the importance as the Erse or Welsh, and adds : north, the British; on the south, the Span- “Whether we welcome or deplore the prosiards; on the west, the French. He found pect, the fact is unmistakable, the future the republic itself tending towards disunion, of the world is English." Perhaps the and the North American continent in a historian of the twentieth century, as he fair way to become but a shuttlecock in the looks out upon a world dominated by the game of European politics. By the Loui- English language, English laws, and English siana Purchase he left the country doubled civilization, together with American liberty, in size, united in domestic interests, and equality, and ideas of self-government, will with its political union greatly strengthened. review the steps by which the great result He increased the power and prestige of has been attained. He will see in the long the United States at home and abroad; he career of France in America one of the prepared the way for that assertion of her most determined attempts made by another supremacy throughout the western hemi- race to win for itself this supremacy; and sphere to which James Monroe was to give among the men and events that saved the his name ; and wrote the acquisition of North American continent to the AngloFlorida, of Texas, of California, and of Saxon, as second only to James Wolfe and Alaska in the book of national destiny. the capture of Quebec, he will mark
But, after all, if we would consider the Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana PurLouisiana Purchase in its highest phase, chase.
By Robert Niven.
Y works can never be popular. ply in these words gave expression to the
make them so is in error.” In acteristic impartiality, he had arrived, that this quiet fashion did Goethe, in one of for him, or for his works, popularity was a those wise and delightful conversations thing which could not be. with Eckermann which the latter has re- The highly notable poetic phenomenon, corded for us, take the horoscope of his as some of his admirers would say, the own “popularity.” He did not affect most notable in English literature since popularity; he did not despise it; he sim- Milton, or even since Shakespeare, - whom
readers of English poetry throughout the Such a question is not one dictated world are now mourning, would doubtless, in any trifling spirit; for, according as it with or without Goethe's equanimity, have may be answered, may the intending stusaid virtually the same thing, had he been dent of Browning feel summoned to bend questioned as to his hopes for the future his energies to a wrestle with the poet's of his works.
works until they render up their meaning With an equanimity as entire and unaf- to him, or may he feel justified in avoiding fected as Goethe's own when he announced the encounter. The present time, too, his opinion as to the future of his works when it may be supposed that Browning's with the general public, has the general recent death has drawn not merely a fresh public listened, or failed to listen, to but a deepened attention to his works, is Goethe's deliverance; and if it is supposed a most fitting one for asking and attemptthat the general English-reading public con- ing to answer the question. The objection templates with any less equanimity a like is possible, that it may seem ungracious to lack of popularity for Browning's works, that put the question at this moment, when the is only because, in the din raised round them language of praise and reverence alone by the ardor of his applauding admirers, will seem to some more befitting our relathe admirers fail to see how cold and un- tion to the dead poet who charmed, taught, responsive are the great reading masses and elevated us than that of critical apbeyond their comparatively small circle. praisal. To this objection, however, it
To say of a poet that he can never be- would be a sufficient reply that the best come popular is doubtless to pronounce way of honoring such a spirit as was that sentence somewhere, little as the speaker of Robert Browning can never be that of may think or desire to do so. He may be turning our eyes away from seeing him pronouncing sentence against the poet, or exactly as he is, with all his excellencies he may be pronouncing it against the pub- and with all his deficiencies, but always of lic, or possibly against both poet and public. seeing, or at least of trying to see him, Goethe, it seems to me, when we take into exactly as he is, with no real deficiency account what his works were both in sub- unnoted, no real excellence unrecognized. stance and in form, must be felt, however Is it not by proceeding in this way only unintentionally on his part, to have been that we can make either Browning or any pronouncing sentence against the public. other such remarkable spirit a safe guide, The onus, such as it was, of his predicted instructor, or inspirer for ourselves ? lack of popularity rested with the public. In considering Browning and his long It was, and would continue, if his lack of poetic career, in considering especially, as popularity continued, on a level, intellectual is here our purpose, the obscurity of his or moral, too low to admit of its appreciat style, which has been so much discussed, ing Goethe's worth. What Goethe himself it seems not a little remarkable that this said of the Founder of Christianity, viz., notable luminary burst on the world at that his personality was so great that it once, if the bull may be pardoned, in the could not be comprehended by his disci- full blaze of his obscurity. In his first ples, might in the same sense, though in poem of Pauline, published when the a lower degree, have been predicated of author was only twenty-three, he could Goethe in relation to the public.
hardly have been called luminous. It was When we come to consider Browning in his seven years' later work, however, in and the absence of popularity which I have Sordello, that he achieved, almost as if at assumed Browning himself would have ad- a bound, his masterpiece of obscurity. A mitted as the fortune that must attend his great German philosopher is said to have works, can we say that such an admission lamented on his deathbed that one man would have been a similar sentence? Can only in all the world understood him, and we say, in the case of Browning, what we even that man did not understand him have said in the case of Goethe ? Must rightly. Mr. Browning has dedicated his Browning's lack of popularity, so far as it poem to a certain friend, and I have seen exists now, or may exist hereafter, be it conjectured that this friend is the man charged upon the public alone, as incapable who understood the poem. Otherwise, it by its intellectual and moral position of would doubtless have been affirmed by the duly appraising his worth as a writer? mockers that Browning's fate as to this