The Louisiana Purchase

30 April 1803

By the secret treaty of St. Ildefonso (1 October 1800) Spain, who had been ceded Louisiana by the French in 1762, ceded the territory back to France. In 1802, Thomas Jefferson sent Robert Livingston instructions to determine the terms by which France would be willing to sell New Orleans and western Florida to the United States. The approach of war with Britain and the failure of the French expedition to Saint-Domingue (Haiti) induced Napoleon to offer the whole of Louisiana to the United States. Eventually Napoleon sold the entire Louisiana territory, more than 800,000 square miles, to the United States for 15 million dollars (about $3,750,000 this amount covered claims of U.S. citizens against France, stemming from the so-called Quasi-War, which the U.S. government agreed to pay), doubling the size of the United States. The treaty was ratified by the U.S. Senate on 20 October, and the U.S. flag was raised over New Orleans on 20 December 1803.


Correspondence on the Louisiana Purchase, 1803-1804.

  1. *Rufus King, United States Minister to Great Britain, to James Madison, Secretary of State of the United States [Extract-Text in CAPITALS represents sections of the letter which were in cipher.]

    No. 20 London, June 1, 1801.

    Dear Sir: ...ON THIS OCCASION AMONG OTHER TOPICS OF CONVERSATION, HIS Lordship introduced the subject of LOUISIANA 353. 1305. 563. [this section was apparently never decoded] he had from different quarters received information OF ITS CESSION TO FRANCE and very unreservedly expressed the reluctance with which they should be led to acquiesce in a measure that might be followed by the most important consequences: the acquisition might enable FRANCE to extend HER influence and perhaps HER Dominion UP THE MISSISSIPPI AND THRO THE LAKES EVEN TO CANADA. This would be realising the plan to prevent the accomplishment of which THE SEVEN YEARS WAR took place; besides the vicinity OF THE FLORIDS TO THE WEST INDIES and the Facility with which the Trade of the latter might be interrupted and the ISLANDS EVEN INVADED SHOULD THE TRANSFER BE MADE were strong reasons why England must be unwilling that THIS TERRITORY should pass UNDER THE DOMINION OF FRANCE. As I could not mistake his Lordship's object in speaking to me upon this subject, I had no difficulty nor reserve in expressing my private sentiments respecting it, taking for my text, the observation of Montesquieu, "that it is happy for trading Powers, that God has permitted Turks and Spaniards to be in the world since of all nations they are the most proper to possess a great Empire with insignificance" - The purport of what I said was, that WE ARE CONTENT THAT THE FLORIDAS remain IN THE HANDS OF SPAIN BUT should be unwilling TO SEE THEM transferred EXCEPT TO OURSELVES.

    With perfect Respect [etc.].

  2. *Robert R. Livingston, United States to France, to an unnamed person supposedly in touch with the First Consul. [Extract]

    No. 3 January 7, 1802.

    There are other considerations Sir which I believe will have some weight with the first Consul if suggested to him - The terms I have proposed as the basis of the Treaty are precisely those which would be most repugnant to the interests of Britain - By interposing the United States between Canada, & the French establishments on the Mississippi, her views upon communication with the sea by that Channel are completely cut off - By giving France the ports on the Gulph of Mexico the British Islands are held in check. By interposing the establishments of France between the United States & Mexico by the only practicable rout the jealousies of Spain with respect to the United States will be calmed, & she will have in France an Ally at hand to protect her from the ambitious views of Britain � At present Britain feels little uneasiness about the possessions of France in Louisiana because believing that they will operate to render the United States enimies of France they count upon their aid in dispossessing them, and in reaping the fruits of their labours. It will be extremely difficult if an negotiation is set on foot in the United States to conduct it with such secrecy as to escape the vigilence of Britain. In a popular government where she has many friends, it may not be difficult for her to prevent its success, nor will she hesitate to make important sacrifices to defeat this object — ...

  3. *Robert R. Livingston, United States Minister to France, to James Madison, Secretary of State of the United States. [Extract-Text in CAPITALS represents sections of the letter which were in cipher.]

    No. 7 Paris, March 24, 1802.

    Dear Sir: ...On the business of Louisiana they have as yet not thought it proper to give me any explanations... ...I have but one hope left as to defeating this cession it consists in ALARMING SPAIN & ENGLAND the SPANISH MINISTER is now ABSENT BUT I have not FAILED TO SHEW in the STRONGEST LIGHT to the MINISTER OF BRITAIN THE DANGER THAT WILL RESULT to them from the EXTENSION OF THE FRENCH POSSESSIONS INTO MEXICO, and the probable LOSS OF CANADA if they are SUFFERED TO POSSESS IT.

    I have requested Mr. King to press this subject also as opportunity offers. I enclose a copy of my last letter to him. If the treaty does not close soon I think it would be adviseable for us to meet at Amiens & have accordingly proposed it to him -

    I believe that such is the state of things here and such the desire for peace that BRITAIN MAY FORCE THEM TO RELINQUISH LOUISIANA particularly as the people here are far from desiring THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ANY FOREIGN COLONY WHICH THEY CONSIDER AS WEAK POINT & DRAIN for the POPULATION & WEALTH — ...

  4. The cession of Louisiana and the Floridas by Spain to France, works most sorely on the United States. On this subject the Secretary of State has written to you fully, yet I cannot forbear recurring to it personally, so deep is the impression it makes on my mind. It completely reverses all the political relations of the United States, and will form a new epoch in our political course. Of all nations of any consideration, France is the one, which hitherto, has offered the fewest points on which we could have any conflict of right, and the most points of a communion of interests. From these causes, we have ever looked to her as our natural friend, as one with which we never could have an occasion of difference. Her growth, therefore, we viewed as our own, her misfortunes ours. There is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural and habitual enemy. It is New Orleans, through which the produce of three-eighths of our territory must pass to market, and from its fertility it will ere long yield more than half of our whole produce, and contain more than half of our inhabitants. France, placing herself in that door, assumes to us the attitude of defiance. Spain might have retained it quietly for years. Her pacific dispositions, her feeble state, would induce her to increase or facilities there, so that her possession of the place would be hardly felt by us, and it would not, perhaps, be very long before some circumstance might arise, which might make the cession of it to us the price of something of more worth to her. Not so can it ever be in the hands of France. The impetuosity of her temper, the energy and restlessness of her character, placed in a point of eternal friction with us, and our character, which, though quiet and loving peace and the pursuit of wealth, is high-minded, despising wealth in competition with insult or injury, enterprising and energetic as any nation on earth; these circumstances render it impossible that France and the United States can continue long friends, when they meet in so irritable a position. They, as well as we, must be blind if they do not see this; and we must be very improvident if we do not begin to make arrangements on that hypothesis. The day that France takes possession of New Orleans, fixes the sentence which is to restrain her forever within her low-water mark. It seals the union of two nations, who, in conjunction, can maintain exclusive possession of the ocean. From that moment, we must marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation. We must turn all our attention to a maritime force, for which our resources place us on very high ground; and having formed and cemented together a power which may render reinforcement of her settlements here impossible to France, make the first cannon, which shall be fired in Europe, the signal for tearing up any settlement she may have made, and for holding the two continents of America in sequestration for the common purposes of the united British and American nations. This is not a state of things we seek or desire. It is one which this measure, if adopted by France, forces on us, as necessarily as any other cause, by the laws of nature, brings on its necessary effect. It is not from fear of France that we deprecate this measure proposed by her. For, however greater her force is than ours, compared in the abstract, it is nothing in comparison to ours, when to be exerted on our soil. But it is from a sincere love of peace, and a firm persuasion that bound to France by the interests and the strong sympathies still existing in the minds of our citizens, and holding relative positions which ensure their continuance, we are secure in a long course of peace. Whereas, the change of friends, which will be rendered necessary if France changes that position, embarks us necessarily as a belligerent power in the first war of Europe. In that case, France will have held possession of New Orleans during the interval of peace, long or short, at the end of which it will be wrested from her. Will this short&lived possession have been an equivalent to her for the transfer of such a weight into the scale of her enemy? Will not the amalgamation of a young, thriving, nation continue to that enemy the health and force which are at present so evidently on the decline? And will a few years' possession of New Orleans add equally to the strength of France? She may say she needs Louisiana for the supply of her West Indies. She does not need it in time of peace, and in war she could not depend on them, because they would be so easily intercepted. I should suppose that all these considerations might, in some proper form, be brought into view of the government of France. Though stated by us, it ought not to give offence; because we do not bring them forward as a menace, but as consequences not controllable by us, but inevitable from the course of things. We mention them, not as things which we desire by any means, but as things we deprecate; and we beseech a friend to look forward and to prevent them for our common interests. If France considers Louisiana, however, as indispensable for her views, she might perhaps be willing to look about for arrangements which might reconcile it to our interests. If anything could do this, it would be the ceding to us the island of New Orleans and the Floridas. This would certainly, in a great degree, remove the causes of jarring and irritation between us, and perhaps for such a length of time, as might produce other means of making the measure permanently conciliatory to our interests and friendships. It would, at any rate, relieve us of the necessity of taking immediate measures for countervailing such an operation in another quarter. But still we should consider New Orleans and the Floridas as no equivalent for the risk of a quarrel with France, produced by her vicinage. —To Robert R. Livingston. iv, 431. Ford Ed., viii, 144. (April 1802.)
  5. I believe... that this measure will cost France, and perhaps not very long hence, a war which will annihilate her on the ocean, and place that element under the despotism of two nations, which I am not reconciled to the more because my own would be one of them. Add to this the exclusive appropriation of both continents of America as a consequence. I wish the present order of things to continue, and with a view to this I value highly a state of friendship between France and us. You know, too well how sincere I have ever been in these dispositions to doubt them. You know, too, how much I value peace, and how unwillingly I should see any event take place which would render war a necessary resource; and that all our movements should change their character and object. I am thus open with you, because I trust that you will have it in your power to impress on that government considerations, in the scale against which the possession of Louisiana is nothing. In Europe, nothing but Europe is seen, or supposed to have any right in the affairs of nations; but this little event, of France's possessing herself of Louisiana, which is thrown in as nothing, as a mere make-weight in the general settlement of accounts, —this speck which now appears as an almost invisible point in the horizon, is the embryo of a tornado which will burst on the countries on both sides of the Atlantic, and involve in its effects their highest destinies. That it may yet be avoided is my sincere prayer; and if you can be the means of informing the wisdom of Bonaparte of all its consequences, you will have deserved well of both countries. Peace and abstinence from European interferences are our objects, and so will continue while the present order of things in America remains uninterrupted. —To Dupont de Nemours. iv, 435. (W., April 1802)
  6. *Robert R. Livingston, United States Minister to France, to Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of France [Extracts]

    Paris, February 27, 1803.

    Citizen First Consul & President: ...That France will never derive any advantage from the Colonization of New Orleans & the Floridas, is fairly to be presumed from their having been possessed for more than a century past by three different nations... I cannot then Citizen first Consul, but express my doubt of any advantage to be derived to France from the retaining of that country in its whole extent, & I think I could shew that her true interest would lead her to make such cessions out of them to the United States as would at once afford supplies to her Islands without draining the money of France, & rivet the friendship of the United States by removing all ground of jealousy relative to a country of little value in itself, & which will be perpetually exposed to the attacks of her natural enemy as well from Canada as by Sea—...

  7. The urgency of the case, as well as the public spirit, induced us to make a more solemn appeal to the justice and judgment of our neighbors, by sending a Minister Extraordinary to impress them with the necessity of some arrangement. Mr. Monroe has been selected. His good dispositions cannot be doubted. Multiplied conversations with him, and views of the subject taken in all the shapes in which it can present itself, have possessed him with our estimates of everything relating to it, with a minuteness which no written communication to Mr. Livingston could ever have attained. These will prepare them to meet and decide on every form of proposition which can occur, without awaiting new instructions from hence, which might draw to an indefinite length a discussion where circumstances imperiously oblige us to a prompt decision. For the occlusion of the Mississippi is a state of things in which we cannot exist. He goes, therefore, joined with Chancellor Livingston, to aid in the issue of a crisis the most important the United States have ever met since their Independence, and which is to decide their future character and career. —To Dupont de Nemours. iv, 456. Ford ed., viii, 204. (W., Feb. 1803.)
  8. Whatever power, other than ourselves, holds the country east of the Mississippi becomes our natural enemy. Will such possession do France as much good, as such an enemy may do her harm? And how long would it be hers, were such an enemy, situated at its door, added to Great Britain? I confess, it appears to me as essential to France to keep at peace with us, as it is to us to keep at peace with here; and that, if this cannot be secured without some compromise as to the territory in question, it will be useful for both to make some sacrifices to effect the compromise. —To Dupont de Nemours. iv, 458. Ford ed., viii, 207. (W., Feb. 1803.)
  9. Congress witnessed at their last session, the extraordinary agitation produced in the public mind by the suspension of our right of deposit at the port of New Orleans, no assignment of another place having been made according to treaty. They were sensible that the continuance of that privation would be more injurious to our nation than any consequences which could flow from any mode of redress, but reposing just confidence in the good faith of the government whose officer had committed the wrong, friendly and reasonable representations were resorted to, and the right of deposit was restored. Previous, however, to this period, we had not been unaware of the danger to which our peace would be perpetually exposed while so important a key to the commerce of the western country remained under foreign power. Difficulties, too were presenting themselves as to the navigation of other streams, which, arising within territories, pass through those adjacent. Propositions had, therefore, been authorized for obtaining, on fair conditions, the sovereignty of New Orleans, and of other possessions in that quarter interesting to our quiet, to such extent as was deemed practicable; and the provisional appropriation of two millions of dollars, to be applied and accounted for by The President of the United States, intended as part of the price, was considered as conveying the sanction of Congress to the acquisition proposed. The enlightened Government of France saw, with just discernment, the importance to both nations of such liberal arrangements as might best and permanently promote the peace, friendship, and interests of both; and the property and sovereignty of all Louisiana, which had been restored to them, have on certain conditions been transferred to the United States by instruments bearing date the 30th of April last. When these shall have received the constitutional sanction of the Senate, they will without delay be communicated to the Representatives also, for the exercise of their functions, as to those conditions which are within the powers vested by the Constitution in Congress. While the property and sovereignty of the Mississippi and its waters secure an independent outlet for the produce of the Western States, and an uncontrolled navigation through their whole course, free from collision with other powers and the dangers to our peace from that source, the fertility of the country, its climate and extent, promise in due season important aids to our treasury, an ample provision for our posterity, and a wide-spread field for the blessings of freedom and equal laws. With the wisdom of Congress it will rest to take those ulterior measures which may be necessary for the immediate occupation and temporary government of the country; for its incorporation into our Union; for rendering the change of government a blessing to our newly-adopted brethren; for securing to them the rights of conscience and of property; for confirming to the Indian inhabitants their occupancy and self-government, establishing friendly and commercial relations with them, and for ascertaining the geography of the country acquired. - Third Annual Message, viii, 23. Ford ed., viii, 267. (October 17, 1803)
  10. When we contemplate the ordinary annual augmentation of imposts from increasing population and wealth, the augmentation of the same revenue by its extension to the new acquisition, and the economies which may still be introduced into our public expenditures, I cannot but hope that Congress in reviewing their resources will find means to meet the intermediate interests of this additional debt without recurring to new taxes, and applying to this object only the ordinary progression of our revenue. -Third Annual Message. viii, 27. Ford ed. viii, 271. (Oct. 1803.)
  11. At this moment a little cloud hovers in the horizon. The government of Spain has protested against the right of France to transfer; and it is possible she may refuse possession, and that this may bring on acts of force. But against such neighbors as France there, and the United States here, what she can expect from so gross a compound of folly and false faith, is not to be sought in the book of wisdom. She is afraid of her enemies in Mexico; but not more than we are. -To Dupont de Nemours. iv, 509. (W., Nov. 1803.)
  12. M. Pichon, according to instructions from his government, proposed to have added to the ratification a protestation against any failure in time or other circumstances of execution, on our part. He was told, that in that case we should annex a counter protestation, which would leave the thing exactly where it was; that this transaction had been conducted, from the commencement of the negotiation to this stage of it, with a frankness and sincerity honorable to both nations, and comfortable to the heart of an honest man to review; that to annex to this last chapter of the transaction such an evidence of mutual distrust, was to change its aspect dishonorably for us both, and, contrary to the truth, as to us; for that we had not the smallest doubt that France would punctually execute its part; and I assured M. Pichon that I had more confidence in the word of the First Consul than in all the parchment we could sign. He saw that we had ratified the treaty; that both branches had passed, by great majorities, one of the bills for execution, and would soon pass the other two; that no circumstances remained that could leave a doubt of our punctual performance; and like an able and honest minister (which he is in the highest degree), he undertook to do what he knew his employers would do themselves, were they here spectators of all the existing circumstances, and exchanged the ratifications purely and simply; so that this instrument goes to the world as an evidence of the candor and confidence of the nations in each other, which will have the best effects. -To Dupont de Nemours. iv, 509. (W., Nov. 1803.)
  13. Spain entered with us a protestation against our ratification of the treaty, grounded, first, on the assertion that the First Consul had not executed the conditions of the treaties of cession; and, secondly, that he had broken a solemn promise not to alienate the country to any nation. We answered, that these were private questions between France and Spain, which they must settle together; that we derived our title from the First Consul, and did not doubt his guarantee of it. -To Robert R. Livingston. iv, 511. Ford ed., viii, 278. (W., Nov. 1803)
  14. On this important acquisition, so favorable to the immediate interests of our western citizens, so auspicious to the peace and security of the nation in general, which adds to our country territories so extensive and fertile, and to our citizens new brethren to partake of the blessings of freedom and self government, I offer to Congress and the country, my sincere congratulations. -Special Message, viii, 33. (Jan. 1804)
  15. I very early saw that Louisiana was indeed a speck in our horizon which was to burst in a tornado; and the public are unapprized how near this catastrophe was. Nothing but a frank and friendly development of causes and effects on our part, and the good sense enough in Bonaparte to see that the train was unavoidable, and would change the face of the world, saved us from that storm. I did not expect he would yield till a war took place between France and England, and my hope was to palliate and endure, if Messrs. Ross, Morris, &c. did not force a premature rupture, until that event. I believe d the event not very distant, but acknowledge it came on sooner than I had expected. Whether, however, the good sense of Bonaparte might not see the course predicted to be necessary and unavoidable, even before a war should be imminent, was a chance which we thought it our duty to try; but the immediate prospect of a rupture brought the case to immediate decision. The denouement has been happy; and I confess I look to this duplication of area for the extending a government so free and economical as ours, as a great achievement to the mass of happiness which is to ensue. -To Dr. Joseph Priestley, iv, 525. Ford ed., viii, 294. (W., Jan. 1804.)
  16. I know that the acquisition of Louisiana has been disapproved by some, from a candid apprehension that the enlargement of our territory would endanger its Union. But who can limit the extent to which the federative principle may operate effectively? The larger our association, the less will it be shaken by local passions; and, in any view, is it not better that the opposite bank of the Mississippi should be settled by our own brethren and children, than by strangers of another family? With which shall we be most likely live in harmony and friendly discourse? -Second Inaugural Address, viii, 41. Ford ed., viii, 344. (1805.)
  17. It is not true that the Louisiana treaty was antedated, lest Great Britain should consider our supplying her enemies with money as a breach of neutrality. After the very words of the treaty were finally agreed to, it took some time, perhaps some days, to make out all the copies in the very splendid manner of Bonaparte's treaties. Whether the 30th of April, 1803, the date expressed, was the day of the actual compact, or that on which it was signed, our memories do not enable us to say. If the former, then it is strictly conformable to the day of the compact; if the latter, then it was postdated, instead of being antedated. [note: This antedating of the treaty was one of the charges made by John Randolph against the administration of Jefferson. -Editor] -To W. A. Burwell. V, 20. Ford ed. viii, 469. (M., Sep. 1806.)

Bibliography: Foley, John P. The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1900.
*Manning, William R. Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States: Canadian relations, 1784-1860. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1940


Treaty between the United States of America and the French Republic.

The President of the United States of America and the First Consul of the French Republic, in the name of the French People, desiring to remove all source of misunderstanding relative to objects of discussion mentioned in the Second and fifth articles of the convention of the 8th Vendémiaire an. 9, (30 September 1800) relative to the rights claimed by the United States, in virtue of the treaty concluded at Madrid the 27 of October, 1795, between His Catholic Majesty and the said United States, and willing to strengthen the union and friendship which at the time of the said convention was happily reestablished between the two nations, have respectively named their plenipotentiaries, to wit, the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the said States, Robert R. Livingston, minister plenipotentiary of the United States, and James Monroe, minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary of the said States, near the Government of the French republic; and the First Consul, in the name of the French people, Citizen François Barbé Marbois, minister of the public treasury, who, after having respectively exchanged their full powers, have agreed to the following articles:

  1. WHEREAS, by the article the third of the treaty concluded at St. Ildefonso, the 9th Vendémiaire an. 9 (1st October, 1800) between the First Consul of the French republic and his Catholic Majesty it was agreed as follows:

    "His Catholic Majesty promises and engages on his part to cede to the French Republic, six months after the full and entire execution of the conditions and Stipulations herein relative to his Royal Highness the Duke of Parma, the colony or province of Louisiana with the same extent that it now has in the hand of Spain, and that it had when France possessed it; and such as it should be after the Treaties subsequently entered into between Spain and other states." And whereas, in pursuance of the treaty, and particularly of the third article, the French republic has an incontestible title to the domain and to the possession of the said territory. The First Consul of the French republic desiring to give to the United States a strong proof of his friendship, doth hereby cede to the said United States, in the name of the French Republic, for ever and in full sovereignty, the said territory with all its rights and appurtenances, as fully and in the same manner as they have been acquired by the French Republic in virtue of the above mentioned treaty, concluded with his Catholic Majesty.

  2. In the cession made by the preceeding article are included the adjacent Islands belonging to Louisiana, all public lots and squares, vacant lands, and all public buildings, fortifications, barracks, and other edifices which are not private property. The archives, papers and documents relative to the domain and sovereignty of Louisiana and its dependencies, will be left in the possession of the commissaries of the United States, and copies will be afterwards given in due form to the magistrates and municipal officers, of such of the said papers and documents as may be necessary to them.
  3. The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the federal constitution, to the enjoyment of all these rights, advantages, and immunities of citizens of the United States; and in the mean time, they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property and the Religion which they profess.
  4. There shall be sent by the government of France, a Commissary to Louisiana, to the end that he do every act necessary, as well to receive from the Officers of his Catholic Majesty the said country and its dependancies in the name of the French Republic, if it has not been already done, as to transmit it in the name of the French Republic to the commissary or agent of the United States.
  5. Immediately after the ratification of the present treaty by the President of the United States, and in case that of the First Consul's shall have been previously obtained, the commissary of the French Republic shall remit all military posts of New Orleans, and other parts of the ceded territory, to the commissary or commissaries named by the President to take possession; the troops, whether of France or Spain, who may be there, shall cease to occupy any military post from the time of taking possession, and shall be embarked as soon as possible in the course of three months after the ratification of this treaty.
  6. The United States promise to execute Such treaties and articles as may have been agreed between Spain and the tribes and nations of Indians until, by mutual consent of the United States and the said tribes or nations, other suitable articles shall have been agreed upon.
  7. As it is reciprocally advantageous to the commerce of France and the United States to encourage the communication of both nations for a limited time in the country ceded by the present treaty, until general arrangements relative to commerce of both nations may be agreed on: it has been agreed between the contracting parties, that the French ships coming directly from France or any of her colonies, loaded only with the produce and manufactures of France or her said colonies; and the ships of Spain coming directly from Spain or any of her colonies loaded only with the produce or manufactures of Spain or her colonies, shall be admitted during the space of twelve years in the port of New Orleans, and in all other legal ports of entry within the ceded territory, in the same manner as the Ships of the United States coming directly from France or Spain, or any of their colonies, without being subject to any other or greater duty on merchandise, or other or greater tonnage than that paid by the citizens of the United States.

    During that space of time above mentioned, no other nation shall have a right to the same privileges in the ports of the ceded territory: the twelve years shall commence three months after the exchange of ratifications, if it shall take place in France, or three months after it shall have been notified at Paris to the French government, if it shall take place in the United States; it is however well understood that the object of the above article is to favor the manufactures, commerce, freight, and navigation of France and of Spain so far as relates to the importations that the French and Spanish shall make into the said ports of the United States, without in any sort affecting the regulations that the United States may make concerning the exportation of t he produce and merchandize of the United States, or any right they may have to make such regulations.

  8. In future and for ever after the expiration of the twelve years, the ships of France shall be treated upon the footing of the most favored nations in the ports above mentioned.
  9. The particular convention signed this day by the respective ministers, having for its object to provide for the payment of debts due to the citizens of the United States by the French Republic prior to the 30th September, 1800, (8th Vendémiaire an. 9,) is approved, and to have its execution in the same manner as if it had been inserted in this present treaty, and it shall be ratified in the same form and in the same time, so that the one shall not be ratified distinct from the other.

    Another particular convention signed at the same date as the present treaty, relative to a definitive rule between the contracting parties, is in the like manner approved, and will be ratified in the same form, and in the same time, and jointly.

  10. The present treaty shall be ratified in good and due form, and the ratifications shall be exchanged in the space of six months after the date of the signature by the ministers plenipotentiary, or sooner if possible.

In faith whereof, the respective plenipotentiaries have signed these articles in the French and English languages; declaring nevertheless that the present treaty was originally agreed to in the French language; and have thereunto affixed their seals.

Done at Paris the tenth day of Floréal, in the eleventh year of the French Republic, and the 30th April 1803.

Barbé Marbois
Rob. R. Livingston
Jas. Monroe

Bibliography: The Connecticut Courant, 2 Nov. 1803.


A Convention between the United States of America and the French Republic.

The President of the United States of America and the First Consul of the French Republic in the name of the French people, in consequence of the treaty of cession of Louisiana, which has been Signed this day; wishing to regulate definitively every thing which has relation to the said cession, have authorized to this effect the Plenipotentiaries, that is to say, the President of the United States has, by, and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the said States, nominated for their Plenipotentiaries, Robert R. Livingston, Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, and James Monroe, Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy-Extraordinary of the said United States, near the Government of the French Republic; and the First Consul of the French Republic, in the name of the French people, has named as Plenipotentiary of the said Republic, the citizen François Barbé Marbois; who, in virtue of their full powers, which have been exchanged this day, have agreed to the followings articles:

  1. The Government of the United States engages to pay to the French government in the manner Specified in the following article, the sum of Sixty millions of francs, independent of the Sum which Shall be fixed by another Convention for the payment of the debts due by France to citizens of the United States.
  2. For the payment of the Sum of Sixty millions of francs mentioned in the preceeding article the United States, shall create a Stock of eleven millions, two hundred and fifty thousand Dollars, bearing an interest of Six per cent, per annum, payable half yearly in London, Amsterdam or Paris, amounting by the half year to three hundred and thirty Seven thousand five hundred Dollars, according to the proportions which Shall be determined by the French Government, to be paid at either place. The principal of the said Stock to be reimbursed at the treasury of the United States, in annual payments of not less than three millions of Dollars each; of which the first payment Shall commence fifteen years after the date of the exchange of ratifications: —this Stock Shall be transferred to the government of France, or to Such person or persons as Shall be authorized to receive it, in three months at most after the exchange of ratifications of this treaty, and after Louisiana Shall be taken possession of the name of the Government of the United States.

    It is further agreed that if the French Government Should be desirous of disposing of the said Stock to receive the capital in Europe at Shorter terms that its measures for that purpose Shall be taken So as to favor in the greatest degree possible the credit of the United States, and to raise to the highest price the said Stock.

  3. It is agreed that the Dollar of the United States Specified in the present Convention shall be fixed at five francs 3333/100000 or five livres, eight sous tournois.

    The present Convention Shall be ratified in good and due form, and the ratifications Shall be exchanged the Space of Six months to date from this day, or Sooner it possible.

In faith of which the respective Plenipotentiaries have Signed the above articles, both in the French and English languages, declaring, nevertheless, that the present treaty has been originally agreed on, and written in the French language; to which they have hereunto affixed their Seals. Done at Paris, the tenth of Floreal, eleventh year of the French Republic.

30th April 1803.

Robt. R. Livingston (seal)
Jas. Monroe (seal)
Barbé Marbois (seal)


Convention between the United States of America and the French Republic.

The President of the United States of America, and the First Consul of the French Republic, in the name of the French People, having by a Treaty of this date terminated all difficulties relative to Louisiana, and established on a Solid foundation the friendship which unites the two nations, and being desirous in compliance with the Second and fifth Articles of the Convention of the 8th Vendémiaire, ninth year of the French Republic, (30th September 1800) to Secure the payment of the Sums due by France to the citizens of the United States, have respectively nominated as Plenipotentiaries, that is to Say The President of the United States of America, by and with the advise and consent of their Senate, Robert R. Livingston, Minister Plenipotentiary, and James Monroe, Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary of the said States, near the Government of the French Republic: and the First Consul, in the name of the French People, the Citizen François Barbé Marbois, Minister of the public treasury; who after having exchanged their full powers,, have agreed to the following articles.

  1. The debts due by France to citizens of the United States, contracted before the 8th Vendémiaire, ninth year of the French Republic, (30th September 1800) Shall be paid according to the following regulations, with interest at Six per Cent; to commence from the period when the accounts and vouchers were presented to the French Government.
  2. The debts provided for by the preceeding Article are those whose result is comprised in the conjectural note annexed to the present Convention, and which, with the interest cannot exceed the Sum of twenty millions of Francs. The claims comprised in the said note, which fall within the exceptions of the following articles, Shall not be admitted to the benefit of this provision.
  3. The principal and interests of the said debts Shall be discharged by the United States, by orders drawn by their Minister Plenipotentiary, on their treasury, these orders Shall be payable Sixty days after the exchange of ratifications of the Treaty, and the Conventions Signed this day, and after possession Shall be given of Louisiana by the Commissaries of France to those of the United States.
  4. It is expressly agreed that the preceding articles Shall comprehend no debts, but Such as are due to citizens of the United States, who have been and are yet creditors of France, for Supplies for embargoes, and prizes made at Sea, in which the appeal has been properly lodged, within the time mentioned in the said Convention, 8th Vend�miaire, ninth year, (30th Sept 1800).
  5. The preceding Articles Shall apply only, First: to captures of which the council of prizes Shall have ordered restitution, it being well understood that the claimant cannot have recourse to the United States otherwise than he might have had to the Government of the French republic, and only in case of insufficiency of the captors; —2d the debts mentioned in the said fifth Article of the Convention, contracted before the 8th Vendémiaire, an 9, (30th September 1800) the payment of which has been heretofore claimed of the actual Government of France, and for which the creditors have a right to the protection of the United States; —the said 5th Article does not comprehend prizes whose condemnation has been, or Shall be, confirmed: it is the express intention of the contracting parties not to extend the benefit of the present Convention to reclamations of American citizens who Shall have established houses of Commerce in France, England, or other countries than the United States, in partnership with foreigners, and who by that reason and the nature of their commerce ought to be regarded as domiciliated in the places where Such house exist. —All agreements and bargains concerning merchandise, which Shall not be the property of American citizens, are equally excepted from the benefit of the said Conventions, Saving however, to Such persons their claims in like manner as if this Treaty had not been made.
  6. And that the different questions which may arise under the preceding article may be fairly investigated, the Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States Shall name three persons, who Shall act from the present and provisionally, and who shall have full power to examine, without removing the documents, all the accounts of the different claims already liquidated by the Bureaus established for this purpose by the French Republic, and to ascertain whether they belong to the classes designated by the present Convention, and the principles established in it, or if they are not in one of its exceptions, and on their Certificate, declaring that the debt is due to an American Citizen, or his representative, and that it existed before the 8th Vendémiaire, 9th year, (30 September 1800) the debtor shall be entitled to an order on the Treasury of the United States, in the manner prescribed by the 3d Article.
  7. The Same agents Shall likewise have power, without removing the documents, to examine the claims which are prepared for verification, and to certify those which ought to be admitted by uniting the necessary qualifications, and not being comprised in t he exceptions contained in the present Convention.
  8. The Same agents Shall likewise examine the claims which are not prepared for liquidation, and certify in writing those which in their judgment ought to be admitted to liquidation.
  9. In proportion as the debts mentioned in these articles Shall be admitted, they Shall be discharged with interest at Six per Cent, by the Treasury of the United States.
  10. And that no debt shall not have the qualifications above mentioned, and that no unjust or exorbitant demand may be admitted, the Commercial agent of the United States at Paris, or such other agent as the Minister Plenipotentiary or the United States Shall think proper to nominate, shall assist at the operations of the Bureaus, and cooperate in the examinations of the claims; and if this agent Shall be of the opinion that any debt is not completely proved, or if he shall judge that it is not comprised in the principles of the fifth article above mentioned, and if, notwithstanding his opinion, the Bureaus established by the French Government should think that it ought to be liquidated, he shall transmit his observations to the board established by the United States, who, without removing documents, shall make a complete examination of the debt and vouchers which Support it, and report the result to the Minister of the United States. —The Minister of the United States Shall transmit his observations in all Such cases to the Minister of the treasury of the French Republic, on whose report the French Government Shall decide definitively in every case.

    The rejection of any claim Shall have no other effect than to exempt the United States from the payment of it, the French Government reserving to itself, the right to decide definitively on Such claim So far as it concerns itself.

  11. Every necessary decision Shall be made in the course of a year to commence from the exchange of ratifications, and no reclamation Shall be admitted afterwards.
  12. In case of claims for debts contracted by the Government of France with citizens of the United States Since the 8th Vendémiaire, 9th year, (30 September 1800) not being comprised in this Convention, may be pursued, and the payment demanded in the Same manner as if it had not been made.
  13. The present convention Shall be ratified in good and due form and the ratifications Shall be exchanged in Six months from the date of the Signature of the Ministers Plenipotentiary, or Sooner if possible.

In faith of which, the respective Ministers Plenipotentiary have signed the above Articles, both in the French and English languages, declaring nevertheless, that the present treaty has been originally agreed on and written in the French language, to which they have hereunto affixed their Seals.

Done at Paris, the tenth of Floreal, eleventh year of the French Republic.
30th April 1803.

Robt. R. Livingston (seal)
Jas. Monroe (seal)
Barbé Marbois (seal)

Bibliography: Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America. Edited by Hunter Miller. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1931.



Placed on the Napoleon Series 9/00


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