THE LOUISIANA TERRITORY FROM 1682-1803

By Cardinal Goodwin.

That part of the Trans-Mississippi West included in the Louisiana purchase was claimed by France by right of discovery and settlement. To the work of Robert Cavelier, better known as Sieur de la Salle, more than to that of any other man she is indebted for a basis for that claim. This indefatigable path-finder had explored the Mississippi to its mouth in 1682. Returning to France in 1683 he won royal support and sailed from Rochelle in July of the year following with an adequate equipment for establishing a colony at the mouth -of the Mississippi. The Spaniards captured one of his four vessels, and he missed the mouth of the great river with the other three, finally coming to Matagonda Bay during the early part of 1685, far west of his intended destination. Another vessel was soon lost by being grounded, and La Salle landed his pioneers and built a fort which he called St. Louis. Disease, loss of tools, the hostility of the Indians, the departure of Beaujeu with the belter of the two remaining vessels, and the wrecking of the other a little later all combined to defeat the success of the enterprise. After vain efforts to find the mouth of the Mississippi La Salle and a few surviving followers started overland for Canada. But the leader was killed on the Brazos River1 and his followers scattered.

The work of La Salle had fired the imaginations of many of his countrymen, and when the treaty of Ryswick was signed in 1697, Louis XIV was persuaded to make an official undertaking of what

'Bolton, Herbert E.."The Location of La Salle's Colony|on the Gulf of Mexico," in theMississippi Valley Historical Review, September, 1915.

had been originally supported largely by La Salle alone. The men to attempt to execute La Salle's ambitious project of a French establishment on the Gulf of Mexico were already at hand. They were two sons of Charles le Moyne of Quebec. Pierre, who is known as the Sieur d'Iberville, was one, and Jean Baptiste, called Bienville from his seigniory, was the other. These two courageous leaders, the latter a midshipman but eighteen years of age at the time, sailed from Brest in October, 1698, with a well selected company of two hundred soldiers and colonists. The Spanish garrison just established at Pensacola refused them permission to land and Iberville came to anchor off Ship Island eighteen miles southeast of the present Mississippi city. Here during the early part of 1699 the adventurers built a fort on the Back Bay of Biloxi.

Iberville then turned his attention to exploring. With a party of about fifty men-at-arms in row boats and canoes he made his way westward along the coast finally reaching the mouth of the Mississippi, and proceeded up that river to the mouth of the Red. On the return the party divided. Bienville led some of the men over the route by which they had come and his older brother conducted the others through Iberville bayou and lakes Maurepas and Pontchartarain, into the Bay St. Louis. It was while making his passage through here that Iberville received from the natives a note written fourteen years earlier by Chevalier de Tonty, La Salle's lieutenant. This confirmed Iberville in the belief that he had reached the country to which the attention of France had been drawn by La Salle.

Before the middle of the year 1699, Iberville returned to France with the ships, leaving Sauvole in command at Biloxi, with Bienville as his lieutenant. Upon a later visit to the colony, in 1702, he ordered the post removed to twenty-seven mile Bluff on Mobile river, and eight years later, two years after the death of Iberville, Bienville, on account of floods, moved once more, this time to the site of modern Mobile.

During these years numerous exploring expeditions were made along the lower Mississippi. On one of them, in the summer of 1700, Iberville was accompanied by Pierre Charles le Sueur, an adventurer who had been on the upper Mississippi in search of furs, copper, lead, and colored earth several years earlier. A number of explorations for mines were made at this time in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee by various prospecting parties. Through reports from the leaders of some of these expeditions the French learned of the appearance of the English in the lower Mississippi. Le Sueur had found an English trader at the mouth of the Arkansas, and in 1699 while descending the river in small boats Bienville and his party came upon an English frigate of sixteen guns at a bend in the river eighteen miles below the present city of New Orleans, at a place called English Turn.

In February, 1718, New Orleans was founded by Bienville, and immediately became not only the seat of government but the metropolis of the Louisiana province. Both Bienville and Sauvole had been favorably impressed with the site in 1699, and had repoited it as a suitable location for a colony, but Iberville was afraid that a town established inland would be subject to Indian raids. Three years after New Orleans was founded Louisiana was divided into nine military districts called Mobile, Biloxi, Alabama, New Orleans, Yazoo, Natchez, Arkansas, Illinois, and Natchitoches. The last of these was founded as a buffer colony against the hostile Spaniards.

One of the motives which had actuated the French in founding Louisiana was the development of an overland commerce with the southwest. Texas was claimed by the Spaniards at this time, and frightened by La Salle's intrusion at Matagorda Bay they had occupied parts of the territory and subsequently withdrawn. The same territory of Texas was claimed by the French because La Salle's ill-fated colony had been founded there. An expedition was sent into the country by Bienville in 1714 under the command of Louis Juchereau, better known as Sieur de St. Denis. Other expeditions were led into the Spanish territory of the Southwest, and in 1717 the French erected a fort at Natchitoches, near the Red River, and about seven leagues from an outpost built by the Spaniards.

These expeditions were not confined to the southwest, however. As early as 1704 French Canadians were reported on the Missouri River. A little later expeditions among the Osage and Pawnee Indians were led by such traders as Du Tisne and Bourgmont.2. The appearance of the French in this region stirred the Spanish to action. In 1720 they led a "retributive expedition" among the Missouri allies. This movement alarmed the French of the Illinois country and Fort Orleans was erected on the Missouri, probably in the present county of Carroll on the north bank of the stream. Bourgmont, who built the fort, remained there for four years supported by a strong garrison. He then began withdrawing gradually, and in 1725 or 1726 the remaining troops were slain by the Indians.

'MarRry. Pierre, Decowerles et Etahlissements drs Francnis dans VOuvst et dans le Sud de VAmiiique SepUnlrionale (1614-1751) Memoires el Documents Originaux. 6 vols. Paris. 1888. Vol. 6. pp. 313-15; 385-452.

Apparently, there were expeditions led from the Illinois country into Trans-Mississippi Louisiana Territory in 1734. The one in 1739 was headed by Pierre and Paul Mallet. They reached Santa Fe and part of them returned by way of New Orleans. Here they delighted Bienville with an account of their explorations—explorations which had brought Frenchmen perhaps for the first time within sight of the Rocky Mountains.3 This was nearly four years before Chevalier Verendrye discovered the Bighorn Range farther north.4

In the meantime French settlements were being extended on the upper Mississippi in the Illinois country. As early as the time of Marquette the Jesuits had operated therein Indian villages along the Illinois river. The Sulpitians opened a mission at Cahokia on the Mississippi in 1699. During the following year the Jesuits removed their establishment to Kaskaskia. In 1720 Fort Chartres was erected for the purpose of checking the encroachments of the English on the Ohio and the Mississippi. At. St. Philippe and at Prairie du Rocher posts were erected in 1723 and 1733 respectively. The Arkansas post which was erected by Tonty in 1686 had been rebuilt by La Harpe in 1722, during the period of his explorations from New Orleans up the Mississippi to the Arkansas.

The Illinois country became noted for its agricultural products during the first half of the eighteenth century. Supplies were sent in large quantities to Detroit, to Ohio posts, and to New Orleans and Mobile. From the two last named places they were shipped to the West Indies and to Europe. During a winter, about 1746, when provisions were scarce at New Orleans, it is reported that the French in Illinois sent to the distressed people of that district about eight hundred thousand weight of flour. In exchange for their products the inhabitants of Illinois received direct from Europe and other French colonies sugar, rice, indigo, cotton, manufactured tobacco, and similar luxuries. The Jesuits had erected an "academy" at Kaskaskia, and at Cahokia a school for Indians had been established by the Sulpitians. The center of fashion in the west was Fort Chartres.5

The growth of Louisiana was not rapid. Time and again the life of the settlement was threatened by starvation and by Indian troubles, but was saved finally from both of these disasters by the arrival of the Indian trader and by the introduction of European plants. The cultivation of indigo was introduced about 1723, but it

a"Voyapes drs Frcres Mallrt avcc six autres Francais, depuis la Riviere des Panimahas dans lc Missouri justjua Santa-Fe," (17. 9-1740) in Ibid.. 455

*A brief but critical study of the Verendrye explorations may be found in O. G. Libby, "Some Verendrve Enigmas" in the Mississippi Valley Historical Reriew, September, 1916.

»Thwiatcs. R. C, France in America, ch. 5.

failed to attract popular favor and finally ceased to be a staple. In 1751 the Jesuit fathers began the culture of sugar which for a few years following was used for making spirits. A cargo of sugar was shipped from the colony in 1765, but it did not prove a profitable commodity of commerce at that time because it was crystallized so poorly that it leaked out of the hogshead before the shipment reached France. From then until 1794 sugar was cultivated only for distillation purposes, but during the latter year Bore, a planter, again tried cultivating it on a larger scale and sold his crop for twelve thousand dollars. The success of this venture, together with the introduction of cotton in 1795, improved the economic basis of Louisiana. Rice and tobacco had been introduced already, and fig trees from Provence and orange trees from Santo Domingo had become acclimated.6 By 1802 the colony was exporting large quantities of cotton, sugar, and molasses; and smaller quantities of indigo, peltries, lumber, lead, corn, horses, cattle, and other articles were being shipped. These commodities and large supplies of naval stores were carried in American and Spanish vessels, the former outnumbering the latter nearly two to one.

By secret treaty of November 3, 1762, Louisiana was ceded by France to Spain to compensate her for the loss of Florida. The territory which passed at this time from the French monarch to his cousin the king of Spain included the part of Louisiana west of the Mississippi river and the island on which New Orleans stands—an island extending along the eastern course of the river for about two hundred and thirty miles above its mouth. That part of Louisiana lying east of the Mississippi with the exception of the island noted, was acknowledged to belong to Great Britain by the terms of the Treaty of Paris which ended the French and Indian war. France also guaranteed free navigation of the Mississippi to Great Britain. It was not until October, 1764, that the commandant learned of the cession, and it was much later, March, 1766, before the first Spanish governor, Don Antonio de Ulloa, accompanied by ninety soldiers, arrived to take command of the new province. But feeling ran high. Ulloa was unpopular, and at the end of two years he was expelled by the French population. Charles III then sent Alexandro O'Reilly, a man made of tougher fibre. For over a year he ruled as special commissioner to establish Spanish authority. Some of the rebels were executed and others were imprisoned—acts for which that vigorous officer received the sobriquet of "The Bloody O'Reilly." Having restored order, however, O'Reilly became con

tChanning, Jeffersonian System, ch. 4. See also Thwiates, France in America, ch. 5.

ciliatory, and numerous old French officers, like Villiers and De Mezieres, were appointed to important positions. By the end of 1770 possession was taken again of the interior posts and the Spanish flag had been raised at all points, Ste Genevieve being the last to haul down the tri-color.7

The ceded district had a total population estimated at from eight thousand, two hundred and fifty to eleven thousand, five hundred, more than half of whom were colored. The principal settlements were scattered along the Mississippi and the lower Missouri, and along the Red River as far as Natchitoches. The most densely populated area, however, lay between Pointe Coupee (situated on the Mississippi below Red River) and New Orleans, where there were more than seven thousand inhabitants, approximately two-thirds of whom were colored. Other settlements in the lower district had been established at La Balize, Attakapa, Opelousas, Avoyelle, and Natchitoches. There were also posts father up the Mississippi opposite Natchez and the Arkansas settlement, and still farther northward, near the Missouri, were St. Charles and Ste Genevieve. Farther west there were slender trading posts, such as St. Louis, among the Cadodacho at the bend of the Red River, and a similar station on the Osage, and Fort Cavagnol near the mouth of the Kansas.7" In the interior, still farther beyond the pale of civilization, roamed many renegade Frenchmen and half-breeds who under the name of hunters had become practical outlaws. One official wrote that the Arkansas River was the "asylum of the wickedest persons without doubt in all the Indies. They live so forgetful of the laws that it is easy to find persons who have not returned to Christian lands for ten, twenty, or thirty years, and who pass their scandalous lives in public concubinage with the captive Indian women whom for their purpose they purchase among the heathen, loaning those of whom they tire to others of less power, that they may labor in their service; giving them no other wage than the promise of quieting their lascivious passions; in short they have no other rule than their own caprice, and the respect which they pay the boldest and most daring, who control them."8 Chief of these Arkansas outlaws at the time was Brindamur, who, "being of gigantic frame and extraordinary strength, had made himself a petty king over those vagabonds and highwaymen."9

;Bolton Herbert E. and Marshall. T. M.. The Colonization of North America from 1492-1783, ch. 21. Thwiates. France in America, ch. 18.

TaBoUon, Spanish Border Lands (a manuscript work which the author had the privilege of reading in advance of publication.)

8Bollon. ted.) Alhunase de Mezieres and the Louisiana-Texas Frontier, 17(>8-1780, 2 vols.. Clev land, 1914. Vol. I. 166.

'Bolton, Spanis Bordrr Lands.

Louisiana remained under Spanish rule for thirty-four jears. During that time, contrary to the general conception, its prosperity was greater than it had ever been before. The population had increased to fifty thousand by 1803 as compared with about ten thousand at the end of the French regime. Gradually commerce was made freer and the restricted trade regulations of Ulloa's time gave place to a more liberal policy. Furs were exempted from duty for a period of ten years for the purpose of encouraging their exportation. The fur trade was reorganized and greatly improved. Instead of following the time-honored custom of relying upon the mission and the presidio for controlling the natives—a custom which was being followed out at that time in California—Spain utilized the numerous French traders who were already among the Louisiana tribes. "A regular system of licensed traders was installed, vagabonds, outlaws and unlicensed persons were driven from the tribes, presents were annually distributed, and medals of merit given to the friendly chiefs."10 St. Louis was the principal center for the ftu trade on the west side of the river and Kaskasia, on the east. Into the northern territory drained by the upper Mississippi and its tributaries and into the vast stretches toward the Spanish commercial center of Santa Fe, itinerant merchants found their way and carried on a lucrative trade with the Indians. French traders had reached the Mandan villages at the great bend of the Missouri by the close of the century. Here they met British agents who had come from posts located on the Assiniboin and the Saskatchewan father north in Canada.11

By the treaty of 1783 that part of Ixnrisiana Territory which had been ceded by France to Great Britain was in turn recognized by the latter as a part of the newly formed American nation. During and immediately following the Revolutionary War large numbers of settlers crossed the Alleghanies and erected homes in Kentucky and in the territories to the north and to the south of that region. The sole outlet for the products of these western settlers was the Mississippi river. The national authorities were slow in realizing this, as a result of which there was much discontent among the settlers of the West, and they became involved in schemes which judged by modern standards were disloyal. At first filibustering expeditions against the Spanish were proposed. But this did not appear practicable, and in 1788 George Rogers Clark and men like him appeared willing to join with Spain in developing the interior of the continent. Attracted by promise of large land grants many

'"Bolton, Spanish Bor/If Lands. "Thwiates, France in America. 292-93.

Kentuckians settled finally in Spanish territory west of the Mississippi. Daniel Boone and his family moved there in 1799.

When the Spanish authorities, during this period, proposed to close the mouth of the Mississippi through a treaty to be signed by the confederate government, the indignant wrath of the men of the western country was so positive that negotiations were halted temporarily. Nothing definite was accomplished until the government under the constitution was put into operation. Then a treaty was signed at Madrid in 1795 by which citizens of the United States were given free navigation of the Mississippi and the right to land their goods at New Orleans free of duty while awaiting transshipment. But during this period events were transpiring on the other side of the Atlantic which were to bring Louisiana again within the scope of European politics and finally into the possession of the United States. To these it will be necessary to turn our attention.

The island of St. Domingo was chiefly Spanish, but its western end belonged to France by language as well as by history. During the days of the Bourbons this small part of the island had been considered the most valuable of French possessions. Two-thirds of the commercial interest of the French nation centered there before the beginning of the French Revolution, in 1789. More than seven hundred ocean going vessels were employed in its carrying trade, and its exports and imports combined were estimated at more than one hundred and forty million dollars. The home market was supplied by it with sugar, coffee, cotton, and indigo. Many prominent creole families in Paris received their incomes from this French possession and wielded considerable political influence in France, "while in the island itself, society enjoyed semi-Parisian ease and elegance, the natural product of an exaggerated slave system combined with the manners, ideas, and amusements of a French proprietary caste."12

Of the six hundred thousand people, approximately, living on the island in 1789, five-sixths were full blooded negro slaves. About half of the hundred thousand free citizens were mulattoes who were disqualified from holding office because of negro blood. Between these and the forty or fifty thousand creoles who held all the social and political privileges of the island there was considerable jealousy. Then, too, the creoles were restless under the despotic colonial system, claiming for themselves political rights which the home government refused to grant. So when the revolution began in

"Henry Adams. History of the United States oj America, 9 vols. New York. 1889-91. Vol. I,

378-79.

France in 1789 the creoles sympathized with the movement until the National Assembly supported the mulattoes. The creoles then turned royalists. The civil war which began in the island produced a slave insurrection that resulted in unspeakable horrors being committed.

For several years the strife continued, and the confusion was increased by the entrance of the Spaniards and the English who hoped to effect a conquest of the island. The National Assembly abolished slavery on February 4, 1794, but at the time this rather increased the confusion. One of its greatest immediate results was that in April following Toussaint Louverture, who had been head of a royalist band in Spanish pay since the beginning of the outbreak, returned and took service under the Republic. His grandfather had been a negro chief on the slave coast of Africa, and had been brought to St. Domingo as a slave. The French accepted Toussaint's services, but not until more than a year later was he commissioned brigadier-general by the National Convention. But in May, 1797, he was made General-in-Chief, and was given military command over the whole colony. He rendered efficient service to the French nation and was liberally rewarded.13

In July, 1797, commissioners arrived in France from the United States. They had been sent for the purpose of settling disputes then existing between the two countries, but Tallyrand refused to negotiate with them unless they would pay him a bribe of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. In the middle of April, 1798, two of the commissioners arrived home thoroughly disgusted. The report of their reception in the French capital and of Tallyrand's demands were published in the United States soon after their arrival, and resulted in the spread of a strong resentment against the French. On June 13, 1798, Congress passed an act suspending commercial relations with France and her dependencies. At that time Toussaint was absolute ruler of St. Domingo, although he recognized a general allegiance to the French Republic. He knew that the act of Congress, if strictly enforced, would work a great hardship on the blacks of the island, and that French authority would be strengthened by whatever weakened him. He determined upon absolute independence from France with a view to seeking better relations with the United States, action upon which the latter nation had counted. Toussaint's advance was encouraged by the United States' consul, and the former sent a special agent with a letter to the President giving complete assurance that if commercial intercourse were renewed between the United States and St. Domingo he would do all within his power

"Ibid., 380-81.

to protect it. Influenced by both political and economic reasons the President secured a new act from Congress which was approved February 9, 1799, and which was intended to satisfy Toussaint's request.

Having secured a reopening of the trade between the United States and St. Domingo and having concluded a favorable treaty with England, Louverture proceeded to carry out his intentions in regard to the establishment of independence. By the successful siege of Jacmel he captured and expelled his principal rival, Rigaud, in July, 1800. Following this almost immediately the French agent, Roume, was imprisoned. Then came the seizure of the Spanish part of the island which had been ceded to France by the treaty of Bale in 1795, but which had not been actually transferred. In May, 1801, Toussaint gave a new constitution to St. Domingo in which he assumed political power for life and reserved the right of naming his successor. In the last act he had outstripped Napoleon, and meanwhile, says Henry Adams, Bonaparte "chafed under the idea of being imitated by one whom he called a 'gilded African.' "u

But Napoleon was more than annoyed at being imitated. He was keenly disappointed because he saw in the success of Toussaint's campaign the failure of his own colonial ambitions, and this too at a time when he had succeeded in acquiring the territory essential to a successful realization of his plans.

The French government had tried to regain possession of Louisiana on several occasions before the act of retrocession was carried out. Following the treaty of 1783 which ended the American Revolution, Vergennes wished to recover that territory, and Spain was willing to return it. France could not pay the price, however, although it was no more than the amount necessary to reimburse the former for the expense of the colony. Following the peace of Bale of July 22, 1795, the French Republic again tried to get possession of Louisiana, and failed. She did succeed in procuring Spain's consent to cede the eastern part of St. Domingo at this time as already indicated, but the French did not ask for immediate possession because of the English superiority on the sea. Once more, in 1797, influenced by Carnot and Barthelemy, the Directory offered the Spanish king a principality to be made by uniting the Duchy of Parma with three legations just taken from the Pope, the same to be given the king's son-in-law as the kingdom of Etruria, but Charles refused to be bribed even by the splendid position which this would

have given his daughter. Still another effort was made in 1798 but with no more success than had followed earlier attempts.

Two years elapsed before the subject was proposed again to the authorities at Madrid. During this time Talleyrand spent some anxious days trying to recover what his mismanagement had lost. The storm of protest in America following the return of Monroe and Pinckney had not died down when Adams appointed, upon his own responsibility, new commissioners to Paris. They arrived there in the spring of 1800, and on September 30th, following the treaty of Morfontaine was signed. This restored relations between France and the United States.

In the meantime Napoleon, then at the head of the French government, took the final step in the acquisition of territory for establishing his colonial system. He ordered Talleyrand to send a special messenger to the French minister at Madrid, with powers for concluding a treaty with Spain by which she should retrocede Louisiana to France. The subject was pushed rapidly and successfully at the Spanish court, but despite this Napoleon determined to send a special agent, and General Berthier, a man who stood close to the First Consul in confidential matters, was selected for the mission. He left for Madrid during the last of August, 1800, cmrying with him a letter of introduction from Bonaparte to the Spanish king, and the project of a treaty of retrocession which had been drawn by Talleyrand at the command of the First Consul. Certainly the project would not tend to allay uneasiness in the United States.

"The French Republic pledges itself to procure for the Duke of Parma in Italy an aggrandizement of territory to contain at least one million inhabitants; the Republic charges itself with procuring the consent of Austria and the other States interested, so that the Duke may he put in possession of his new territory at the coming peace between France and Austria. Spain on her side pledges herself to retrocede to the French Republic the colony of Louisiana with the same extent it actually has in the hands of Spain, and such as it should be according to the treaties subsequently passed between Spain and other States. Spain shall further join to this cession that of the two Floridas, eastern and western with their actual limits."15

Besides this Spain was to give to France six ships of war, and the provinces mentioned were to be delivered to France whenever the territory promised for the Duke of Parma should be delivered by France to Spain. Mutual assistance was to be given against any

person or persons who should threaten or attack them in consequence of executing their engagement.

"In the history of the United States," to quote again from Henry Adams, "hardly any document, domestic or foreign, to be found in their archives has greater interest than this project; for from it the United States must trace whatever legal title they obtain to the vast region west of the Mississippi. The treaties which followed were made merely in pursuance of this engagement, with such variations as seemed good for the purpose of carrying out the central idea of restoring Louisiana to France."16

The retrocession was not to be concluded without difficulties, however. The object of Berthier's mission had been published in a Paris newspaper and this reached the American minister at Madrid, who sought a denial from Urquijo, the Spanish Secretary for Foreign Relations, and from Alquier, the French minister to Spain. The denial was not convincing. There was further difficulty. Louisiana had been demanded by Alquier, but Berthier was told to require the Floridas and six ships of war in addition. Louisiana, as we have seen, was French, and the Spanish king was willing to part with it for a kingdom in Italy, but he was not willing to part with the Floridas. So the final agreement provided that the prince-presumptive of Parma, who was the son-in-law and nephew of Don Carlos, should receive an Italian kingdom of at least a million inhabitants. Tuscany was the territory selected for the new monarch, who was to be known as King of Etruria. In return Spain was to retrocede Louisiana to France. After the general peace, the king might also cede that part of west Florida which lay between the Mississippi and the Mobile. At San Ildefonso, on October 1, 1800, the treaty of retrocession was signed. As has been indicated,17 this agreement undid the convention of 1800 signed on the preceding day by Joseph Bonaparte and the American ministers.

The First Consul's brother, Lucien, was sent as ambassador to Madrid to complete the details of the agreement. At the Spanish capital Urquijo was dismissed, Godoy was called from retirement to take his place, and the struggle for the possession of Louisiana began. Lucien negotiated a new treaty closing the bargain in regard to Parma and Tuscany to which Godoy offered no opposition. The treaty provided that the Prince of Parma be created King of Etruria, and that Louisiana should be retroceded at once to France. This was signed at Madrid on March 21, 1801, and the young king

"Ibid.. 367-68.

"Ibid., 370 and Clianning, The Jtffersonian System, 59.

and his consort were sent to Paris, where they were handsomely entertained by Napoleon. A few months later the First Consul called upon the King of Spain for authority to take possession of Louisiana, but Godoy had determined that this should not be permitted. The excuse which the wily Spaniard used was that Napoleon had not fulfilled his part of the agreement. The young king had been sent to Italy to take possession of his kingdom, but upon his arrival he found there was no royal authority to go with his royal title. The entire control was in the hands of the French, and no foreign power recognized the new kingdom. Napoleon was vexed beyond measure at having his policy held up in this manner, but for about a year longer he permitted Godoy to hold Louisiana.

While Godoy still defied him, Napoleon turned to crush another opponent whom he detested even more than the Prince of Peace. This was Toussaint Louverture. Summoning his brother-in-law, Leclerc, to Paris in the fall of 1801, the First Consul placed him in command of an expedition of twenty-five thousand men who had been ordered to assemble at Brest to overthrow Toussaint and reestablish slavery in the island of St. Domingo. In the United States, in the meantime, the political revolution of 1800 had produced a change in the administration of that country, and Napoleon had concluded a temporary peace with England. Toussaint was left to depend entirely upon his own resources. Even so he might have succeeded had his own men remained loyal, but the odds against him were great and on May 1, 1802, he surrendered to Leclerc. Shortly afterwards another foe appeared on the island against which the French battled in vain. The yellow fever broke out in the army. In September, 1802, Leclerc wrote Napoleon that only four thousand of the twenty-eight thousand, three hundred men sent to St. Domingo remained fit for service. This was soon followed by news that Leclerc himself had succumbed to the horrible malady.18

These disasters together with the growing difficulty of maintaining peace with England were important factors in Napoleon's determining to dispose of Louisiana. This decision had been reached probably by October 28, 1802.19 Livingstone wrote to Jefferson on that day stating that he had had a conversation with Joseph Bonaparte and the latter had asked whether the United States would prefer Louisiana to the Floridas. But Livingstone had declared that his country had no desire to extend its boundaries across the Mississippi, so the plan for Louisiana was checked temporarily.

'tAdams, Untied Stales. I. 414-18.

"T. M. Marshall, A History of the Western Boundary of the Louisiana Purchase, 1819-1841, 3-4.

In the United States at this time complications were developing which were to result in President Jefferson's sending a special envoy to France. The United States and Spain had agreed to a treaty in 1795 by which the boundaries between their territories were fixed, the free navigation of the Mississippi was guaranteed American citizens, and for a period of three years they were to deposit merchandise at New Orleans, with the privilege of exporting goods without paying duty. This privilege was to continue unless the king of Spain found it contrary to his interests. The Americans enjoyed the right of deposit for seven years without interruption.20 Before Congress met in December, 1802, the authorities in Washington received word through Governor Claiborne at Natchez that Don Juan Ventura Morales, Spanish Intendant, had arbitrarily closed the port. This news created consternation in the United States. The people of Tennessee and Kentucky talked of war when they learned that the Mississippi was closed to them, and the New England Federalists, overjoyed at the attitude which Jefferson's western followers assumed and anxious to force the President to make some rash move which would cause his friends of that section to forsake his leadership, did all they could to plunge the country into instant war. "Never in all his long and varied career," says Channing, "did Jefferson's foxlike discretion stand him in better stead. Instead of following the public clamor, he calmly formulated a policy and carried it through to a most successful termination."21

To calm public agitation was the first task he set for himself, the second was to regain the right of deposit, and the third was to get possession of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. To these things he at once turned his attention.

Despite the alarm expressed in his well known letter to Livingstone dated April 18, 1802, at Washington, Jefferson's second annual message to Congress the following December was written in a tone of calm indifference, as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. He did state that the cession of Louisiana to France would make necessary a change in the foreign relations of the United States, but what the change would be he did not indicate. More than a month later the House went into executive session and General Samuel Smith moved to appropriate two million dollars, the same to be i

"Ibid., 6.

"Channing. Jejffersonian System, 63.

motion was put. Both motions passed and Jefferson wrote a letter of explanation to Monroe on January 13, 1803.22 "The agitation of the public mind on occasion of the late supervision of our right of deposit at New Orleans," he said, "is extreme. In the western country it is natural and grounded on honest motives. In the seaports it proceeds from a desire for war which increases the mercantile lottery; among the Federalists generally and especially those of Congress the object is to force us into war if possible, in order to derange our finances, or if this cannot be done, to attach the western country to them as their best friends, and thus get again into power. Remonstrances, memorials, etc., are now circulating through the whole of the western country and signed by the body of the people. The measures we have been pursuing being invisible do not satisfy their minds. Something sensible therefore was become necessary; and indeed our object of purchasing New Orleans and the Floridas is a measure liable to assume so many shapes that no instructions could be squared to fit them, it was essential then to send a minister extraordinary to be joined with the ordinary one, with discretionary powers, first however well impressed with all our views and therefore qualified to meet and modify to these every form of proposition which could come from the other party."

The first part of Jefferson's program was realized by this move. On the thirty-first of the same month Thornton, the British chargt, wrote to Lord Hawkesbury that the country seemed satisfied with the action which had been taken, and reliable information had assured the government at Washington that "the people of Kentucky will wait with patience the result of the steps which the executive government may think it right to take, without recurring, as was apprehended would be the case, to force, for the assertion of their claims. The President regards this circumstance (with great justice, it appears to me) as the surest pledge of the continuance of his authority, and as the death-blow of the Federal party."23 In the same letter Thornton had already said that Jefferson had already assured him the United States would never abandon its claim to the free navigation of the Mississippi. While the President hoped that a peaceful settlement could be made, he thought it very probable that Monroe might cross the channel to converse with British ministers about the free navitagion of the Mississippi, and if compelled to resort to war the United States would throw away the scabbard.

"Jefferson. Writings (Ford ed.) VIII, 190.

"Quoted in Henry Adams, History of jA« United States, I, 436-37.

The French charge, Pichon, was thoroughly aroused by what had been done. Again and again he appealed to Talléyrand. He delcared that it would be impossible for a government to be more bitter than that of the United States "at the humiliating attitude in which our silence about Louisiana places them." Jefferson, he thought, would be forced to yield through necessity his scruples against a British alliance, and Pichon had noticed that the President was "redoubling his civilities and attentions to the British charge."2* Pichon had a conference with Madison at the latter's request which confirmed his deepest fears. New Orleans and West Florida were essential for the American settlements on the upper Mississippi and Mobile rivers, Madison informed him, and Monroe had been instructed to obtain all the territory east of the Mississippi at a price not to exceed two or three million dollars. Since New Orleans was of no value to the French they could sell it to the Americans and build another city on the opposite bank of the river. The true policy of France required her to make the Mississippi her boundary anyway, because "the United States had no interest in seeing circumstances rise which should eventually lead their population to extend itself on the right bank." If Napoleon was not convinced by these arguments, Madison intimated to Pichon, "it might happen that the conduct of France would decide political combinations which, getting the upper hand of all these considerations, would tend to produce results no doubt disagreeable to the United States, but certainly still more so to France and her allies."25

Briefly, every possible thing was done to make France understand that the Mississippi must be kept open to the people of the United States. If France should force a war on the administration, Madison wrote Livingstone and Monroe in April, 1803, the two envoys were to invite England to form an alliance by. which it should be agreed that neither party would make peace or a truce without the consent of the other. Before Madison had completed these instructions to the American representatives in France, however, the Spanish minister, the Marquis of Casa Yonjo, informed him that the Spanish government had sent a special messenger to notify the President that the right of deposit would be restored until another place coujd be selected or until some other arrangement could be made which would satisfy both parties. The Spanish minister was also instructed to thank the President for his friendly conduct during the time of recent excitement. So the second part of Jefferson's plans was realiz

ized.26 The third was not to be accomplished in its entirety for several years, but the attempt to realize it resulted in the Louisiana purchase—an incident which has been called rightly the "greatest diplomatic success recorded in American history," and an event which ranks in historical importance next to the Declaration of Independence and the adoption of the Constitution."27

Monroe sailed from the United States on March 9, 1803, and arrived in Paris on the twelfth of April. Two days before he landed Napoleon called Marbois and another councilor to him and declared his intention of ceding Louisiana to the United States.

"I know the full value of Louisiana," he said vehemently, "and I have been desirous of repairing the fault of the French negotiator who abandoned it in 1763. A few lines of a treaty have restored it to me, and I have scarcely recovered it when I must expect to lose it. But if it escapes from me, it shall one day cost dearer to those who oblige me to strip myself of it than to those to whom I wish to deliver it. The English have successfully taken from France, Canada, Cape Breton, New Foundland, Nova Scotia, and the richest portions of Asia. They are engaged in exciting troubles in St. Domingo. They shall not have the Mississippi which they covet. Louisiana is nothing in comparison with their conquests in all parts of the globe, and yet the jealousy they feel at the restoration of this colony to the sovereignty of France, acquaints me with their wish to take possession of it, and it is thus that they will begin the war. They have twenty ships of war in the Gulf of Mexico, they sail over these seas as sovereigns, whilst our affairs in St. Domingo have been growing worse every day since the death of I^clerc. The conquest of Louisiana would be easy, if they only took the trouble to make a descent there. I have not a moment to lose in putting it out of their reach. I know not whether they are not already there. It is their usual course, and if I had been in their place, I would not have waited. I wish, if there is still time, to take from them any idea that they may have of ever possessing that colony. I think of ceding it to the United States. I can scarcely say that I cede it to them, for it is not yet in our possession. If, however, I leave the least time to our enemies, I shall only transmit an empty title to those republicans whose friendship I seek. They only ask of me one town in Louisiana, but I already consider the colony as entirely lost, and it appears to me that in the hands of this growing power, it will be more useful

to the policy and even to the commerce of France, than if I should attempt to keep it."28

The discussion was continued into the night but no decision was reached. At daybreak on the following morning Napoleon received word that England was hastening preparations for renewal of the war. Summoning Marbois to him he reiterated his intention of parting with Louisiana. "It is not only New Orleans that I will cede, it is the whole colony without any reservation. I know the pnce ol what I abandon, and I have sufficiently proved the importance that 1 attach to this province, since my first diplomatic act with Spain had for its object the recovery of it. I renounce it with the greatest regret. ... I direct you to negotiate this affair with the envoys ol the United States. Do not even await the arrival of Mr. Monroe; have an interview this very day with Mr. Livingstone; but I require a deal great of money for this war, and I would not

like to commence it with new contributions If I should

regulate my terms, according to the value of these vast regions to the United States, the indemnity would have no limits. I will be moderate in consideration of the necessity in which I am of making a sale. But keep this to yourself. I want fifty millions (francs), and for less than that sum I will not treat; I would rather make a desperate attempt to keep these fine countries."29

Marbois did not see Livingstone on that day, but Talleyrand did. Livingstone had been in conference with Talleyrand for several weeks trying to purchase the island of Orleans and West Florida. Talleyrand, on Monday, April 11, 1803, the day that Napoleon had placed the negotiations in Marbois' charge, asked Livingstone whether the United States would like the whole of Louisiana. Livingstone told him that the United States wanted only New Orleans and the Floridas, but that it might be to the interest of France to cede the country above the Arkansas river to his people in order to place a barrier between French territory and Canada. Talleyrand replied that if they gave New Orleans the rest would be of little value and he would like to know what the United States would give for the whole. To this Livingstone refused to commit himself until he had had an opportunity to introduce Monroe.

On the night of April 13th, two days later, Livingstone had a conversation with Marbois, the Minister of the Treasury, which he considered so important that he thought it necessary to report it to Madison at once, while the impressions were strong upon his mind.80

"Barbe-Marbois, The History oj Louisiana, 263-64, "Ibid., 274-75.

"Thne letters are in the American Stall Papers, Foreign Relations, II, 552-54,

Until midnight the two men conversed. Marbois said that the First Consul, in a recent conference with him, had declared his readiness to part with the whole of the Louisiana territory to the United States provided that country would pay one hundred million francs and pay the claims of their own citizens. "Seeing, by my looks, that I was surprised at so extravagant a demand," wrote Livingstone, "he added that he considered the demand as exhorbitant, and had told the First Consul that the thing was impossible; that we had not the means of raising that. The First Consul told him that we might borrow it. I now plainly saw the whole business: first, the Consul was disposed to sell; next, he distrusted Talleyrand, on account of the supposed intention to bribe, and meant to put the negotiations into the hands of Marbois, whose character for integrity is establishlished." Livingstone assured Marbois that the United States was anxious to preserve peace with France, that his nation wished to remove the French inhabitants to the west side of the Mississippi; that the United States would be perfectly satisfied with New Orleans and the Floridas, and had no disposition to extend across the river, that of course they would not give any great sum for the purchase; that Marbois was right in his idea of the extreme exorbitancy of the demand; and that the United States would be ready to purchase, provided the sum was reduced to reasonable limits. Marbois then urged him to name the sum, but this Livinstone declined to do. The French minister, upon being urged to do so, then suggested as a fair price sixty million francs, in addition to which the United States should take upon itself the American claims to the amount of twenty million more.

While Livingstone urged the exorbitance of this demand he took particular pains to < inquire whether France would stipulate never to possess the Floridas and would promise to aid the United States to procure them. Being assured by Marbois that the French government would do this, Livingstone closed the conversation by promising to confer with Monroe, assuring Marbois that the American representatives would do every reasonable thing to remove any cause for difference which might exist between the two countries.

"Thus, sir, you see a negotiation is fairly opened," he exulted in concluding his communication to Madison. "As to the quantum, I have yet made up no opinion. The field opened to us is infinitely larger than our instructions contemplated; the revenue increasing, and the land more than adequate to sink the capital, should we even go the sum proposed by Marbois; nay I persuade myself that the whole sum may be raised by the sale of the territory west of the

Mississippi, with the right of sovereignty, to some power in Europe, whose vicinity we should not fear. I speak now without reflection and without having seen Mr. Monroe, as it was midnight when I left the treasury, and is now three o'clock. It is so very important that you should be apprised that a negotiation is actually opened, even before Mr. Monroe has been presented, in order to calm the tumult which the news of war will renew, that I have lost no time in 'communicating it. We shall do all we can to cheapen the purchase; but my present sentiment is that we shall buy."31

True to his promise Livingstone worked hard for a reduction in the price. A week was spent in haggling over this, and a fortnight passed after Monroe's arrival without anything more definite having been accomplished. On April 23rd the First Consul drew up a "Project of a Secret Convention" which was given by him to Marbois. For the purpose, among other things, of strengthening friendly relations between the two nations the French Republic according to this document was to cede Louisiana to the United States; in consequence of which cession, "Louisiana, its territory, and its proper dependencies shall become part of the American Union, and shall form successively one or more states on the terms of the Federal Constitution."32 French commerce in Louisiana was to be given all the rights of American commerce with permanent entrepots at six points along the Mississippi together with a permanent right of navigation. The United States was also to assume all debts to American citizens under the treaty of Monfontaine, and was to pay France one hundred million francs. Armed with this document on the afternoon of April 27th, Marbois held a conference with Livingstone and Monroe in the rooms of the latter. Too unwell himself to sit at the table Monroe reclined on a sofa throughout the discussion.

The conversation was opened by Marbois who submitted Napoleon's project. After admitting that he thought it hard and unreasonable, he presented his own. The former demanded a total expense of one hundred and twenty million francs to the American government, the latter reduced the demand to eighty million.' Livingstone was particularly anxious to settle this question of claims first and separately, but Monroe overruled him in this. The twentyeighth of April was spent by the two American envoys in revising Marbois' project, and drawing up one of their own. On the following day they called upon the French minister and presented their proposal. In this they had suggested fifty millions as the amount to

"Ibid., 554,

"Quoted in Adams, United Stales, II, 40.

be given France, and twenty millions more on account of her debt to the citizens of the United States. But Marbois refused to proceed unless eighty million francs was accepted as the price, and the American commissioners finally yielded. Marbois took the revised document for a conference with Napoleon on April 30th.

On Sunday, May 1st, Monroe was conducted to the Palace of the Louvre and presented by Livingstone to the First Consul whom he found in a genial and inquisitive frame of mind. "'You have been here fifteen days?' Napoleon asked. I told him I had. 'You speak French?' I replied 'A little!' 'You had a good voyage?' 'Yes.' 'You came in a frigate?' 'No, in a merchant vessel charged for the purpose.' Then turning abruptly to the subject in which Monroe and Livingstone were particularly interested he assured them that their affair should be settled, and left them. After dinner the First Consul again came to Monroe and inquired whether the Federal city grew much. I told him it did. 'How many inhabitants has it?' '. . . , in itself it contains two or three thousand inhabitants.' 'Well, Mr. Jefferson, how old is he?' 'About sixty.' 'Is he married or single?' 'He is not married.' 'Then he is a garfon.' 'No, he is a widower.' 'Has he children?' 'Yes two daughters who are married.' 'Does he reside always at the Federal city?' 'Generally.' 'Are the public buildings there commodious, those for the Congress and President especially?' 'They are.' You Americans did brilliant things in your war with England, you will do the same again.' 'We shall I am persuaded always behave well when it shall be our lot to be in war.' 'You may probably be in war with them again.' I replied that I did not know, that that was an important question to decide when there would be an occasion for it,"33 and so the conversation ended.

On that same evening the two American envoys had a final discussion with Marbois. Some amendments were made to the treaty and a few minor changes were agreed upon. On May second the "treaty and convention for sixty millions of francs to France in the French language" was signed. The English copies were prepared and signed two or three days later. The convention affecting American claims was not signed, however, until about the eighth \ or ninth, and all these documents were antedated to April thirtieth. But in the document thus agreed upon there was no attempt to define the boundaries of the property which changed hands. This subject was left for later diplomatic negotiations, and in the meantime American explorers and American settlers were crossing the Mississippi to seek adventure and to build homes in the Trans-Mississippi West.

"Monroe, James, Writings, Vol. 4, 15 and 16.