Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/65

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48
Ch. 2.
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

claimants received three million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars less their expenses, which reduced the sum about one half.

The impression of diplomatic oversight was deepened by the scandals which grew out of the distribution of the three million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars which the favored claimants were to receive. Livingston’s diplomatic career was poisoned by quarrels over this money.[1] That the French government acted with little concealment of venality was no matter of surprised; but that Livingston should be officially charged by his own associates with favoritism and corruption,—"imbecility of mind and a childish vanity, mixed with a considerable portion of duplicity,"—injured the credit of his Government; and the matter was not bettered when he threw back similar charges on the Board of Commissioners, or when at last General Armstrong, coming to succeed him, was discredited by similar suspicions. Considering how small was the amount of money distributed, the scandal and corruption surpassed any other experience of the national government.

Livingston’s troubles did not end there. He could afford to suffer some deduction from his triumph; for he had achieved the greatest diplomatic success recorded in American history. Neither Franklin, Jay, Gallatin, nor any other American diplomatist was so Fortunate as Livingston for the immensity of his results compared with the paucity of his means. Other

  1. View of the Claims, etc., by a Citizen of Baltimore. 1829.