that we shall construe it our own way?" I can give you no direction. You have made a noble bargain for yourselves, and I suppose you will make the most of it," was the final reply of Talleyrand. Had Livingston known that Victor's instructions, which began by fixing the boundaries in question, were still in Talleyrand’s desk, the answer would have been the same.
One point alone was fixed,—the Floridas were not included in the sale; this was conceded on both sides. In his first conversation with Marbois, Livingston made a condition that France should aid him in procuring these territories from Spain. "I asked him, in case of purchase, whether they would stipulate that France would never possess the Floridas, and that she would aid us to procure them, and relinquish all right that she might have to them. He told me that she would go thus far." Several days later, Marbois repeated this assurance to Monroe, saying that the First Consul authorized him, besides offering Louisiana, "to engage his support of our claim to the Floridas with Spain." Yet when the American commissioners tried to insert this pledge into the treaty, they failed. Bonaparte would give nothing but a verbal promise to use his good offices with Spain.
Besides the failure to dispose of these two points, which were in reality but one, the treaty contained a
- Livingston to Madison, April 13, 1803; State Papers, ii. 552.
- Monroe to Madison, April 19, 1803; State Department Archives.