Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 2.djvu/49

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Ch. 2.

The conversation closed by Livingston's departure at midnight with a final protest: "I told him that I would consult Mr. Monroe, but that neither he nor I could accede to his ideas on the subject." Then he went home; and sitting down to his desk wrote a long dispatch to Madison, to record that without Monroe’s help he had won Louisiana. The letter closed with some reflections:—

"As to the quantum, I have yet made up no opinion. The field open 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 Office, and it is now near 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."

A week was next passed in haggling over the price.[1] Livingston did his utmost to beat Marbois down, but without success. Meanwhile he ran some risk of

  1. Livingston to Madison, April 17, 1803; State Papers, ii. 554.