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The cession of Louisiana removed an active and dangerous neighbour ; it removed, also, a fruitful source of trouble and war. It secured the geographical position of the United States, and left no part of the country without an ample outlet for its products. America became master of the mouth of the Mississippi, and thus established the safety of the vast commerce of the territory west of the Alleghanies and of the great rivers of the interior. An European writer on diplomacy makes the following remark on this convention :-“The news of the transfer of Louisiana was like a thunder stroke for the cabinet of Madrid, who then perceived the enormous fault it had committed in sacrificing the safety of Mexico. Florida, enclosed on both sides by the United States, was separated in the middle from the Spanish dominions, and would fall on the first occasion into the hands of its neighbours."*

The convention, by which this cession was made, was negotiated April 30, 1803, at Paris, by Robert R. Livingston and James Munroet on the part of the United States, and Barbé Marbois, formerly a Chargé in this country, on the part of France. Three conventions were signed the same day; the first to effect the cession, the second to regulate the price, and the third to secure the assumption by the United States of the debts due by the French government for illegal captures and condemnations.f The ratifications were exchanged in Octo

* This observation was made in 1804. The whole prediction is now accomplished.

† Mr. Livingston was the resident minister at Paris ; but Mr. Munroe had been sent by the Executive on a special mission.

# Convention 1.—“ Art. 1. Whereas, by article the third of the treaty concluded at St. Ildefonso, the 9th Vendemiaire, 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 retrocede to the French republic, six months after the full and entire execution of the conditions and stipulations herein relative to bis royal highness ber 1803, and the surrender of the province was made in the usual form, on the 20th of December in the same year to the

the duke of Parma, the colony or province of Louisiana, with the same extent that it now has in the hands 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 incontestable 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, forever 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 abovementioned treaty, concluded with his catholic majesty.

“ Art. 2. In the cession made by the preceding 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.

66 Art. 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 the 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.

“ Art. 4. A commissary to be sent from France to receive the province of Louisiana from the Spanish officers, and to pass it over to the l'nited States.

65 JRT. 6.

American commissioners, William C.C. Claiborne and James Wilkinson. The province was erected, by an act of Congress

66 Art. 6. The United States to execute the treaties of Spain with the Indians, &c.

" ART. 7. The vessels of France and Spain, laden with the productions of their respective countries, and entering ports of Louisiana, entitled to the same privileges for twelve years, as vessels of the United States, from France or Spain, entering the same ports. No other nation entitled to the same privileges during the said period of twelve years.

" ART. 8. After the expiration of the twelve years, the vessels of France to be upon the footing of those of the most favoured nations."

Convention 2.—Art. 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, indepen. dent 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.

** ART. 2. For the payment of the sum of sixty millions of francs, mentioned in the preceding 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 the ratifications of this treaty, and after Louisiana shall be taken possession of in the name of the goveroment of the United States.


into a territorial government, and William C. C. Claiborne was appointed by the President the Governor and Intendant General. In 1811, Louisiana was admitted into the Union.*

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« Art. 3. It is agreed that the dollar of the United States, specified in the present convention, shall be fixed at five francs 33.33 or five livres eight sous tournois.



* We have found in a “Collection of Reports on Navigation and Trade,” (London 1807), a letter of a British officer, written in ’94 concerning Louisiana. As it illustrates the importance of this province, (with which the English appear to have been well acquainted, we shall make a few extracts from the letter :

"A Letter from an Officer of Rank in the Army, to one of his Majesty's Ministers of State respecting Louisiana.

“C-- Street, May 21, 1794. “What I allude to, sir, is this ; that on a peace and general arrangement of the present extensive troubles, the cession of the island of New Orleans, with all, or a part of, West Florida, and as much of the territory bordering on the Mississippi as should be judged necessary, might be obtained by this country from the court of Spain ; in which event the above-mentioned advantages would consequently follow.

“In the present state of that country, all the West India islands could be plentifully supplied from the Mississippi with every species of lumber, at cheaper price."

“ That country would also, in a little time, be able to supply the West Indies with abundance of many articles of provisions.”

“When it is considered, that from the furthest distance up the Missouri river, whither our Indian traders from Canada at present resort, to the mouth of the Mississippi, (an extent of above three thousand miles,) there is an unfathomable and uninterrupted channel; and that both the banks are of a fertility surpassing the most exaggerated accounts of those of the Nile, and capable of yielding every production of both hemispheres ; and when we further reflect on the many great rivers which discharge themselves into the Mississippi, particularly the Ohio, which is of itself navigable above twelve hundred miles, with several others falling into it, little less in appearance than the Ohio itself; and the neighbouring soil and climate offering every induce



Convention 3.-" Art. 1. The debts due by France to citizens of the United States, contracted before the 8th of Vendemiaire, 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 periods when the accounts and vouchers were presented to the French government.

“ Art. 2. The debts provided for by the preceding 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.

5 ART. 3. The principal and interest 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 commissioners of France to those of the United States.

“Art. 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 lodge' within the time mentioned in the said convention of the 8th Vendemiaire, ninth year, (30th September, 1800.)

6 ART. 5.

ment to come and settle there, with no channel, as I have already observed, to export the produce by, except the Mississippi ;-I say, sir, when all those circumstances are considered, there can hardly be a calculation formed of the shipping that will be necessary, in some short time hence, for the transport of the immense productions that will be sent down that river."

“Should the Americans thus once firmly possess themselves of that colony, it will be very difficult to dislodge them; and from the time they establish a footing in any port in the Gulph of Florida, the intercourse between the European nations and the West Indies will be very insecure indeed.”

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